Menifee Sets 'Little Rascals' Loose in Soap Box Derby
Kyle Davis is all business as he waits to head downhill in his White Lightning race car. Eric ...
|Kyle Davis is all business as he waits to head downhill in his White Lightning race car.|
"Ryan (Eric's son) won in a fiberglass car last year, but they changed the rules so you can't run a fiberglass car anymore," said Eric Johnson of Johnson's Auto Service in Menifee. "I wanted to make it look like the Little Rascals -- you know, an old school street racer."
|Rust Bucket team members (from left, back row) Ryan Moore, Nick Johnson, Eric Johnson, Richard Johnson and Ryder Lawrence (in front).|
About 45 drivers -- mostly teenagers and younger -- took part in the event, bringing vehicles of all shapes and colors. There are fairly strict rules set down by the organizers at Valley-Wide Recreation, but the bottom line is simple: Build a car without an engine that will roll down the steep hill of Menifee Road toward Holland Road as fast as possible.
"It gives kids an opportunity to learn how to use tools," said Hemet resident Mike Percival (below), who was putting air in a tire before sending his 7-year-old grandson Daniel Hulse out to race in the Training Wheels Division. "I run an air conditioning business, and it's amazing to me how many young people come to work without knowing the right end of a screwdriver. In doing this, Daniel now knows everything about how one of these cars is put together.
Schnake, recreation supervisor for Valley-Wide, created the event last year in cooperation with the City of Menifee, which sponsors the race. He said the field of drivers increased from 20 last year to 45 this year, and many more have inquired about entering next year's event, even though entries won't be accepted until January.
Dean Wetter, general manager of Valley-Wide, even got into the act, losing a "grudge match" race against Menifee City Manager Rob Johnson (below). Wetter said he couldn't be more pleased with the event.
Kyle Davis, who shared driving duties in the "White Lightning" car with his brother Noah, was proud of the family's entry and said they had fun working together on the project.
"We helped my dad build it," Kyle Davis said. "We spent quite a while in the garage working on it. We didn't do that well last year, so we changed out the wheels this time to try to go faster. I think our car is a little heavier than most, so I think that will help us."
|Members of the "Hopped Up" team won a design award: Leo Santos, Diego Porroa and Adiel Flores.|
Training Wheels (ages 8-12)
First place: Gavin Rose
Second place: Noah Davis
Big Wheels (ages 13-17)
First place: Katelynn Hugar
Second place: Kyle Davis
Limo Wheels (open division, including adults)
First place: Jason DeBie (sponsored by Sherwin Williams)
Second place: Lilianna Moreno (sponsored by Sylvan Learning Center)
Evan Hamilton (pictured above)
"Hopped Up" team of Leo Santos, Diego Porroa, Adiel Flores