Races, crashes, driveway detours at soapbox derby

Nov 2, 2019

MARION — Participants seated on the sidelines of the Soap Box Derby on Nov. 2 might have been more comfortable, but also ran the risk of having a miniature car veer off the road and hit their legs or chair. 

Rochester, Marion and Mattapoisett Cub Scouts, a few Boy Scouts and the St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church youth group closed part of Holmes street in Marion to send scouts whizzing down the street in “soapbox” cars that they had built themselves. 

Combined, the groups made a total of 12 cars, each built over the course of several meetings.

The tradition has been going on for decades, but this is the first time that scouts from across the tri-town joined in. In fact, Jazmin Kearns from Mattapoisett took second place in the event, while Jack Goodwin of the Marion Pack 32 took third and Henry Achilles from St. Gabriel’s took first. 

Kristen Saint Don-Campbell, one of the leaders for the Marion pack said that bringing all three troops together meant the event had “more kids, more fun, and was bigger, louder funner.” 

Over time, parents, watchers and kids got to know the cars. One green car with a Boston Celtics flag and gold wheels was fast, but with a flat tire it was extremely difficult to steer, and tended to veer off course easily. “Stop hitting the latrine!” one of the starters, Andrew Daniel yelled at one point. At one point the green car took a race detour down someone’s driveway.

In another race, one driver stopped just short of the finish line while their opponent had veered off to the side, and a crowd of other scouts and parents rushed out to drag them across the finish line. 

There were plenty of other antics as well. One protective sister told her brother’s opponent to “stop hitting my brother!,” though the hitting did not seem intentional and may have been caused by both drivers. 

While not racing, scouts and siblings could try their hand at archery. At one point, an archer considered yellow blue balls, about a foot apart, for targets. He asked two others which he should aim for, and got conflicting answers. Luckily the solution was pretty simple for him: “OK, I’ll aim for both!”