Home News Homemade race cars gain momentum for annual Soap Box Derby

Homemade race cars gain momentum for annual Soap Box Derby

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Photo by: Lara Dietrich | Staff Photographer
Drivers race down the hill Nov. 6 during the Homecoming Soap Box Derby.

Makeshift cars could be seen racing in the Family and Consumer Sciences parking lot Friday afternoon for the 48th annual Soap Box Derby to help build excitement for the Nov. 7 homecoming football game.

The event, hosted every year since 1967, brought out members of residence halls as well as Greek and other student organizations. Racers built their cars out of wood or metal and competed against one another to win prizes.

Joanne Smith, vice president for Student Affairs, was in the crowd cheering on the competitive drivers. Smith said she was very happy to hear that the event did not have to be cancelled due to weather.

“We’ve never had to cancel this event because of weather and we’re so glad about that,” Smith said.

In order for students to be able to compete, they first had to complete a test run with their cars before the actual race, Smith said.

“Students wear a helmet, have stuff break and the cars go through a test drive to make sure that they’re safe before the event,” Smith said.

Students crouched in the small homemade race cars and were launched from a ramp to build momentum. From there, the cars travelled full speed ahead until stopped by brakes, gravity or at times—by crashing into the safety of hay bales.

“This year was fun because a lot of the drivers actually made it to the finish line and not just crash into the hay,” Smith said.

Alex Puryear, Pride and Traditions coordinator, is in charge of organizing all of the homecoming events leading up to the football game.

“Every winner of their gets a trophy and they also all compete to see who the overall champion is,” Puryear said.

Ashley Hoehne, president of Texas State Agricultural Systems Association and agriculture business and management senior, was the overall champion of the derby.

Hoehne said every year she is always the driver of her team because she is small enough to fit in the car and the most enthusiastic about not only just participating in the event, but winning the whole race.

It took Hoehne and her team over two months to finish building their race car for the derby. The winner said she started talking about building it on the very first day of the Fall semester because she was so eager for the event.

“It’s exciting,” Hoehne said. “It’s my last year and I know I’ll never race again, but it’s exciting to win.”