COLORADO SPRINGS — Costilla Street in Downtown Colorado Springs has been home to the Pikes Peak Soap Box Derby for 17 years, but like many events, the race, scheduled for June 14th, has fallen victim to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jody Shanklin is the Director for Pikes Peak Soap Box Derby and he said even though it was a tough decision to cancel the soap box derby, it was the right move.
“Too much interaction with the kids it’s too close of an environment if we could have found a way to keep them separate enough during that that operation we probably would have held it,” Shanklin said. “But we also have a lot of volunteers that are elderly and are in that age frame that it causes problems.”
You could say the Soap Box Derby runs in the family for Trevor Johnson, a 2019 racer.
“Oh my mom’s Uncle Jim. He kind of got me into it,” Johnson said.
Last year Johnson got behind the wheel for the first time.
“It’s just a fun way to get outside – have fun building cars and race them down a hill,” Johnson explained.
Johnson’s heart is all about the fun. But no fun would be possible without the help of Transit Mix Concrete , which not only halts business on the day of the race, but also they donate their building, shop, and even Johnson’s car.
“I think anytime you can do anything to help kids and families get together and build something, and spend some time together, come out and do something on a Saturday together it’s great. It’s great as people and it’s great as businesses,” Transit Mix Concrete General Manager Steven Montoya said.
Unfortunately, this year, the race is stuck at a red light.
“SoapBox Derby is all about the competition and building camaraderie with the parents, and the kids finding new friends – racing with them makes an awesome challenge. We’ve been doing it 17 years,” Shanklin explained.
Despite the setback for the 2020 Pikes Peak Soap Box Derby, supporters are already looking ahead to 2021.
“We are looking for sponsorship,” Shanklin added. “We need donations to keep this running every year, we have a lot of expenses that we have to pay.”
It’s a project the folks at Pikes Peak Derby really enjoy. For some, it’s a nostalgic road trip, right back to childhood.
“I don’t care how old us guys get, we’re still kids at heart,” Montoya said.
As for Johnson, he says his wheels won’t go to waste.
“I’m just gonna drive it around my neighborhood,” he said, in hopes that 2021 will be his year.