Residence hall staff, Greek life members and student organizations have been gearing up the past few weeks for today’s annual Homecoming Soap Box Derby on Bobcat Trail.
The Soapbox Derby, sponsored by the Order of Omega, is a spirit competition in which teams build soap box derby vehicles to race, according to the Order of Omega website. The race begins Friday at 1 p.m. on Bobcat Trail.
Teams compete for trophies and “spark points,” which are awarded at the various Homecoming activities. The team with the highest point average wins the Spark Award, and there will also be a “best overall” trophy. Participants are separated into three categories: small group, mid-size group and large group.
The website states in order to race, a vehicle must go through a safety inspection, and the competing organization must sign a liability waiver. Groups are given creative freedom to decorate their cars however they choose.
According to the participants of the Bexar Hall soap box team, they chose to make their car out of a shopping cart to reduce air resistance and increase their speed.
“I’ve used a shopping cart before, so I’m not nervous,” said Frank Tallerine, Bexar Hall soap box derby driver.
Order of Omega officials had to meet certain safety requirements while planning the event, according to the website. They made plans to install a new ramp at next year’s derby because the current one is only anticipated to last through the end of this year’s race. The officials are in charge of coordinating operations for the event such as keeping Bobcat Trail free of buses and lining the street with hay bales to protect spectators and participants, said Lindsay Medina, Soap Box Derby chair for Order of Omega.
“I feel like this is the year that is going to kind of solidify the rest of it for Order of Omega and for our Homecoming traditions,” Medina said.
The Order of Omega website states about 30 teams are lined up to race this year, some for the first time. The Golden Key National Honor Society chose to enter the derby this year to become more involved in school traditions and activities.
“We’re trying to reach top level standards for our chapter,” said Parker Garam, Golden Key National Honor Society treasurer.