Williamsport – Does your child have a need for speed? Williamsport Soap Box Derby is hosting a registration day and information meeting from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday, January 18, 2020 for the upcoming race on June 13. The registration will be at the Community Arts Center, 242 W. Fourth Street.
Children may sign up for one of two divisions: Stock Division (ages seven to 13) or Super Stock Division (ages nine to 18). Potential racers must be a resident of Lycoming County and be between the ages of seven and 20. Racers will be required to attend a construction clinic on May 9. There is a $20 registration fee, which is refundable if the driver competes on race day and meets all requirements.
Soap box derby racing dates back to the 1930s, when cars were built from discarded lumber and other parts. The derby race began in Williamsport in 1941. The winner of that race, William Cotner, advanced and competed in the All-American Race in Akron, Ohio. The race was not held in Williamsport during World War II, from 1942 to 1945. Williamsport resumed races in 1946. The city continued to hold a soap box derby race each year up until 1954, with the last race winner being Charles Forney.
Interest in the soap box derby was revived in recent years, and in 2010 a volunteer committee started holding races again in Williamsport. Each year, two champions are crowned in the Stock and Super Stock divisions. These winners advance to the All-American Race in Akron. At the 2019 Williamsport race, Lucas McCahan of Muncy became the Stock Champion and proceeded to the All-American Race where he took 7th place. Sarah Stugart of Williamsport was the Super Stock champion last year.
The city received a distinguished honor last year when Williamsport Soap Box Derby was recognized as a top race city in 2019.