Brother, sister ready for national competition

Monday, June 11, 2007
Jordan Little (Toby Carrig)

The Little family hopes for big success in the All-American Soap Box Derby.

April and Jordan Little will compete in the 70th annual race July 21 at Derby Downs in Akron, Ohio., becoming the first two siblings from Cape Girardeau to represent the area in the race in the same year.

April, 14, started racing three years ago, when her mother Beth signed her up for the competition. Beth Little, a secretary at Rushing Marine Service, said the company's owners, Todd and Mike Rushing, asked her if April wanted to drive the company's car in Cape Girardeau's annual race.

"My mom signed me up, and it was fun, so I kept coming back," April said. "It's neat to get to take the car apart, check each part and put it back together before the race."

April finished second in the super stock division in the eighth annual Cape Girardeau Rotary Club Soap Box Derby on May 5. The first-place winner, Elwood Voss, 10, couldn't compete in the All-American Soap Box Derby because of a scheduled family vacation, so April will take his place.The super stock division features larger cars, and drivers must be at least 10 years old.

April Jordan

Jordan, 9, placed first in the stock division in his first race.

"I thought it was cool," Jordan said. "It's so hot and sweaty this time of year, and you get to go fast and cool off."

Jordan said he saw the Derby Downs racetrack on TV and was excited about racing there.

Beth Little said she shared her children's excitement.

"I'm a little wary, but I'm looking forward to it," she said. "Before they won, I told them, 'If you win, we're going.'"

The family will travel to Akron on July 14.

The All-American Soap Box Derby is a weeklong event culminating in the races July 21.

There are two classes of races, rally and local. Rally racers compete across the country to earn berths in the championship, while local racers qualify by winning their local events.

The cars April and Jordan will drive are already in crates ready to be shipped to Akron.

Look for exclusive coverage of April and Jordan's experience starting July 16.

pwylie@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 127

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