Gravity-fueled racers compete in Cedar City’s Soap Box Challenge

CEDAR CITY — Young racers competed for trophies and bragging rights on Saturday as the Soap Box Challenge took over the hill at the southern end of Cedar City’s Royal Hunte Drive for a few hours.

Young racers prepare for the Cedar City Soap Box Challenge, Cedar City, Utah, May 18, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

More than a dozen kit-built cars competing in the main “super stock” category took turns going head-to-head, working their way through a double elimination bracket. A few other homemade cars competed in their own category, including one made from an old wheelbarrow.

Powered by nothing more than gravity, the vehicles rolled steadily downhill each race, their young drivers waiting until they’d crossed the finish line to apply the brakes. If races were close enough, the same two cars would race again, with the finish-line judges noting the difference in margin of victory to declare a winner.

The entire event lasted about three hours. Dozens of family members, friends and other spectators lined the sides of the street, cheering on their favorite racers.

The event was organized and sponsored by RallyStop, with assistance from Funder Welding and Design of Enoch. Several other local business sponsored individual cars or otherwise supported the event.

Ultimately, the car sponsored by Grind Coffee House outdueled the Spearhead racer in the finals. Following that, the winner of the homemade car category, 11-year-old Greyson Coons, raced the Grind vehicle for the overall championship. The light green dart-shaped car bearing the name “Greyson” maintained its unbeaten record to the end, beating the Grind car by about one half car length in the final race.

Coons had traveled all the way from Arizona with his grandfather Bill Freitag to compete in the race. He personally designed the sleek customized car and built it over the past year with his grandpa’s help.

Young racers pose at RallyStop with their awards and trophies following the Cedar City Soap Box Challenge, Cedar City, Utah, May 18, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

“I’m so happy for him. He designed it, he finished it. What a great day!” Freitag said afterward as his proud grandson happily posed by his car with his two large trophies.

“Being able to race the winner of the super stock for ‘King of the Hill’ was really exciting for Greyson. He really enjoyed his trip to Utah and was amazed about how nice everyone was. He made a lot of new friends and experiences.”

Greyson’s younger brother Hudson, 7, also attended the event, but was too young to race this year. He hopes to compete next year, Freitag said.

Event co-organizer Amanda Curtis of RallyStop proclaimed the event a success.

“We had a very successful Soap Box Derby today. The event went great. We had beautiful weather. All the kids seem to be happy, and that’s what matters.”

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