July 19, 2010 •
Our Day at the Corporate Derby
The five-member pit crew arrived at Derby Downs early in the morning and spent a majority of the day assembling and decorating a classic soapbox derby car. The team, lead by driver Sarah Gray took fourth place.
Here is a video of Sarah in her first trial run:
The event is an opportunity for local companies to participate in the lead-up to the All-American Soap Box Derby, which will be held the weekend of July 24, 2010 and a chance to help Summit County United Way. Other major Summit County businesses participated in the event this year including PNC Bank, Bridgestone, and Summa Healthcare. Bridgestone was the champion of the Corporate Derby this year.
Teams decorated their derby cars with paint, decals and the classic derby tin-can headlights. The double-elimination tournament was an excellent way for participating companies to give back the community, spend time with one another in a less formal setting, and take part in one of the few remaining true slices of Americana.
Sarah Gray shared her thoughts:
Have you ever thought something was a good idea until you were about to do it? Racing a soapbox derby car down a 25-foot hill for the United Way Corporate Derby was one of those ideas for me—it sounded fun until I stood at the top and looked all the way down to the finish line.
When I first arrived at Derby Downs, I was excited about the race… until I saw the monster they call a “hill”. I knew I had to focus on the more urgent matter at hand—turning the pile of wood and wheels provided to us into a well-oiled, State-and-Federalized machine of terror! Together with my four colleagues, we did just that, except the only person feeling the “terror” was me!
I was selected to be the first crash test dummy, that is, take the first test drive down the hill. I asked everyone I saw, whether I knew them or not, if they worked for the Derby or not, and if I should be scared. Suffice it to say, I was the entertainment that morning. I’ve been told even the timekeeper watching the finish line was amused at how frightened I was. As I coasted down the hill, I had two options—steer or push on the brake. There was no “off” button, no reverse.
The cheers from the crowd as I sped down the hill eased my fears. Nearly the entire staff from State and Federal was there to root me on, some bearing signs, still more with cameras at the ready. I glided over the finish line and caught my breath—I made it!
The fear I originally held was gone. I couldn’t wait to get back to the top of the hill and zoom down again. Each time there were more people giving me advice, keep your head down, keep your rear-end back, don’t look up, don’t swerve, and just relax. After six exhilarating rides, I finished fourth place, not bad for an amateur. Not many people can say they have raced a soapbox car down Derby Downs and I would have regretted not following through with race. The memories I gained were well worth it and will last a lifetime.
Here is a picture of Team State and Federal!
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