Soapbox car derby added to October’s Opp Fest events

Published 1:16 am Saturday, May 20, 2017

It may be months away, but plans are already under way for this year’s Opp Fest.

Opp Firefighter Michael Barnes has stepped up to the plate and is organizing a new event, one he wants to call Bobcat Derby.

Barnes said there is a beautiful hill on Main Street and he is organizing a soap box car derby.

“I built one for $53,” he said. “We want to get anybody and everybody involved.”

Barnes said he talked to Pam Potter, adult activity center coordinator, about the city’s liability release.

He said that he plans to line Main Street with hay bales and sell sponsorships for the event.

Registration fees will be $20 per car and $5 per additional driver. The rationale behind that is so that families could build one car but the whole family could race.

“We are really encouraging creativity,” he said. “This is about having fun and getting the community together. Everyone can get involved.”

Barnes said the start of the race would be where the car show normally is set up, but members of the car club are willing to move to accommodate the new event.

He said that he wanted to do this because there is a long gap during the day after the Scarecrow 5K and for some 15-20 minutes is all that is needed to check out the vendors.

“There is no limit on how old you can be to participate,” he said. “The fire department is behind me.”

Barnes said the Utilities Department is going to let him set up a demo car at their office for people to see.

Barnes and the council agreed that it was a good summer projects for families.

Mayor Becky Bracke said her father used to build her soapbox cars and she would go down the hill on the sidewalk.

Bracke plans to participate in the event.

Barnes said there will be several awards given away, including the fastest.

Racers will be clocked by the police department’s radar gun to see who is the fastest.

There will also be an award for most team spirit and most creativity.

Councilman Skip Spurlin said that he thought it was a great idea, especially with the amount of spirit in the community.

Bracke said the community needs more people with ideas like Barnes who are willing to step up and take charge.