FROM STAFF REPORTS
MARBLE FALLS — It’s a simple concept: Line up at the top of Third Street and, when the flag drops, go as fast as you can down the street lined with hay bales to the finish line several hundred yards below.
And, you want to be the fastest to the finish line.
Only, you’re depending mostly on gravity and the quality of your soapbox derby car design to get you there the fastest because, with the exception of the Jamaican-style format, you don’t contribute much energy to the speed of your car. And, you don’t have an engine either.
Welcome to the fifth annual Marble Falls Soapbox Classic. The event, which features a plethora of soapbox car designs, turns downtown Marble Falls into racing headquarters June 13-15. Racers will be vying for a chance to be crowned the fastest (though there are lots of ways to earn bragging rights) come Sunday.
The event started about five years ago when Main Street enthusiasts wanted to create something that drew people to downtown Main Street. Shannon Heep and Russell Buster were among the handful of folks who came up with and promoted the concept of a soapbox derby race. But instead of having it for kids, organizers opted for an adult version.
And the idea caught fire.
Now, in it’s fifth year, the Marble Falls Soapbox Classic draws competitors from as far away as Kansas as well as across Texas. By and large, the majority of the racers hail from the Highland Lakes area, but fans come from outside the area to enjoy the racing.
And it’s darn fun to watch.
Who knew watching a bunch of men and women compete in cars they designed and built could be so exciting? Sure, it’s not the Triple Crown or NASCAR, but the crowds really get into cheering along Third Street as competitors try to eke out every bit of speed down the hill.
Watching is free, by the way.
Everything starts Friday with the Show-n-Shine and Parade at 6 p.m. along Main Street. This is a chance to check out all the cars and meet the racers. But don’t wander off. The opening ceremonies follow at 7 p.m. with racing under the lights until midnight.
The fun returns Saturday with the races starting back up at noon and continuing all day. For those looking to get into the fun, you can enter the Derby Hat Contest. There are two categories: traditional and outrageous. It costs $5 to enter ($1 for children 12 and younger.) All proceeds from the hat contest go to the National Adult Soapbox Derby Association, a nonprofit organization.
Derby Hat Contest registration is 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at the National Adult Soapbox Derby Association booth. Judging begins at 2 p.m. with the winners announced at 2:30 p.m.
Saturday wraps up with a street dance at 9:30 p.m. But don’t worry, the racing isn’t done.
On Sunday, the racing heats back up at noon for the finals.
Fans can bring lawn chairs and small shade tents to set up along Third Street, but coolers aren’t allowed.
Go to www.adultsoapboxderby.com for more information.