Soapbox Derby: Information and Pictures


Pictures of a Soapbox derby in action are available free of charge after the following account.
When did you last actually see a soap box? I’m sure it will be many years ago. The term referred to a wooden box in which soap or other goods were delivered from the factory to the shop. Yet the expression has entered the English language and can be used as a metaphor in two different ways: firstly meaning preaching or speaking passionate arguments: “He is on his soapbox again.” This is derived from politicians’ habit of taking a box to a public meeting to stand on and so be seen by more of the crowd.

The second use of the word soapbox is the one we are interested in here: children (or their parents) would get a box and use it to build a ‘go-cart’ which they would then race downhill against their friends in a “Soapbox Derby”, the name “Derby” being borrowed from horse racing. In the USA this type of racing began informally over 50 years ago and evolved into something much bigger - surprisingly, in this high-tech age, soapbox derbies are popular all round the world.

The ‘All-American Soap Box Derby’ is a youth programme for 7 to 20 year olds which has been running since 1934. You qualify for the World Championship Race by winning your local race; the races are divided into three age groups.
The free photos on this site were taken in Switzerland, but soapbox derbies are biggest in the USA, where the World Championships are held every July, and in the UK, where racing team Red Bull sponsor a race in London every summer. An interesting race for amateurs takes place near the Humber Bridge in the North of England: you can enter hand-made carts and sponsor them for charity by putting advertising logos on the sides.

In Switzerland many towns stage events in the summer months, keeping going a tradition from the 19th century. Since most soap box races are downhill using gravity only, a hilly country like Switzerland makes an ideal venue.
Soapbox Derby, Start Soapbox Derby  Soap Box Derby  Soap Box Downhill 
Soapbox Derby Soap Box in Action  Soapbox Derby  Race Soapbox 
Soap Box Derby Soapbox picture  Soapbox Derby  Soapbox Derby 
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