Halter's determination pays off on hot derby day

Sunday, May 9, 2004

Heather Halter earned a trip to Akron, Ohio, for her efforts Saturday. And she also will collect on a limo ride someday soon.

The 11-year-old Jackson girl captured the Cape Girardeau Soap Box Derby stock division on North Sprigg Street, earning a berth to the 67th annual All-American Soap Box Derby event, scheduled to start July 31 in Akron. As for the limo ride, that will come courtesy of her father, who made the wager with her.

"She has a lot of determination," said Doug Halter, who worked with Hannah to build a car sponsored by St. Francis Medical Center. "I'm just totally surprised. She told me she wanted a limo ride if she won and it seemed like a pretty safe bet."

Heather, who competed last year as with less successful results, needed every ounce of determination after losing a second-round contest to Justin Thurman.

She came back through the elimination bracket to win eight straight races, including the last two needed to oust the previously unbeaten Thurman in the final round.

Each race consisted of two heats with the time differentials in each race determing the winner. After losing the first heat to Thurman by .336 of a second and facing elimination, Halter won the second heat by .492 to force a second meeting in the double-elimination event.

She won the first heat and held on by .05 of a second, the narrowest winning margin all day.

"I just tried to go as low as I can but still be able to see," said Halter, a fifth-grader at Immaculate Conception. "Stay low and don't turn the wheel."

Thurman, 9, settled for second. Ross McClanahan, 9, finished third, and Coleman Schott, 11, was fourth. The stock field drew 18 cars, enough to qualify the winner for Akron.

Smith wins super stock

The super stock division -- heavier, fancier cars -- fell below the 10-car threshold but grew from two entries last year to eight this year.

Sky Smith, 9, dominated the super stock field, winning each of his four races by margins greater than 1.6 seconds. In fact, the undefeated Smith won his first three races by an average of 2.65 seconds.

Smith's car was sponsored by Scott McDowell.

Anthony Seabaugh, 12, placed second in super stock. Michelle Kelsay, 15, was third, and Suzanna Bridges, 11, placed fourth.

The Cape Girardeau Rotary Club put together the race, which was sponsored by Southeast Missouri Hospital.

"We had good turnout and great participation," said race director Tracey Glenn. "It was a great day."

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