Two Jackson boys take part in the big Soap Box Derby race in Ohio

Sunday, July 25, 2010
Hayden Shovan

For the past week two Jackson boys have been in Akron, Ohio, meeting derby racers from around the world at the 73rd annual All-American Soap Box Derby Championships. Hayden Shovan, 9, and Nicholas Moore, 12, each won their qualifying race in Cape Girardeau last month, giving them the chance to participate in Saturday's single-elimination race in Ohio.

Hayden's dad, Mike Shovan, said the past few days have been busy for his son.

"Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were very active. There was always something to do. He got a break Thursday and Friday," he said. Hayden had to be at the Derby Downs race track at 6:15 a.m. Saturday to register for his race.

Nicholas Moore

For Hayden, the experience was just as much fun as the actual race. He said he really enjoyed the practice runs and meeting new friends from across the world.

"I met people from Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Canada and all over the United States. It has been good," he said.

He spent much of his week preparing his car for the race. He was busy swapping wheels, weighing his car and readjusting the alignment of his car's suspension. Hayden competed in the Stock Division race and won his first-round race but was overtaken late in his second race after he hit the guardrail. His car was sponsored by Centenary United Methodist Church.

Moore competed in the Super Stock Division, and his race results were not yet available. His car was sponsored by Southeast Missouri Hospital.

Cape Girardeau race director Tracey Glenn said the Soap Box Derby gives the racers a lot more than a ride down the hill.

"It is really about their eyes being opened through the experience. It helps them build character and sportsmanship. They learn about losing because not everybody wins," she said.

Glenn said the racers swap wheels with other racers throughout the event to ensure that no one has an unfair advantage through better wheels. The racers often help each other with this process.

Each of the winners in the two qualifying races in Cape Girardeau has the opportunity to go to Akron. The Cape Girardeau Rotary Club, which sponsors the Cape Girardeau race, gives the family of each winner racing in Akron a $500 stipend to offset the cost of the trip.

Glenn said race week in Akron starts with a parade and other special events. Like with other international sporting events, pin swapping is a popular activity.

This year's race had close to 600 participants from seven countries.

Both local racers will speak to the Cape Girardeau Rotary Club in August about their experiences in Akron.


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