WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to continue the long tradition of soap box derby racing on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol with a resolution sponsored by House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (Md.) authorizing the race on June 20, 2009. Hoyer submitted the following statement into the Congressional record:
“Today I rise as a proud sponsor of House Concurrent Resolution 37, legislation which will allow the Greater Washington Soap Box Derby Association to hold the 68th Annual Greater Washington Soap Box Derby on the grounds of the United States Capitol on Saturday, June 20.
“Since 1938 when 223 racers descended on Washington, DC, soap box derby racing has had a long and rich tradition in our nation’s capital.
“Although the race location has moved from the original site on New Hampshire Avenue to Capitol Hill, with stops on Massachusetts Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue, and Eastern Avenue along the way, the ingredients of the race remain the same: home-made engine-less, gravity-powered cars, the spirit of competition, and the pure exhiliration of racing.
“The soap box derby consists of dozens of drivers, boys and girls ranging in age from 8 to 17, who have designed and built the cars they race.
“These racers are divided into three divisions: stock, super stock, and masters. The local winner of each division will automatically qualify to compete with racers from around the country in the 72nd all-American soap box derby in Akron, Ohio on July 25.
“Community groups, police departments, fire departments, and others sponsor children each year, children who may not otherwise be able to participate.
“Over the years thousands of the region’s young people have participated in this great race. I am proud to report that the last two winners of the soap box derby competition have been neighbors of mine and constituents of the Fifth District of Maryland.
“In 2007 Miss Kacie Rader, a neighbor of mine from Mechanicsville, Maryland, and a rising senior in high school at the time, won in the masters division of the 66th Greater Washington Soap Box Derby. Kacie then went on to become the first Marylander to win the national soap box derby title, after competing against 550 other soap box champions.
“Kacie’s great success was followed last year by another winner, Miss Courtney Rayle. Sixteen years old and also a neighbor from Mechanicsville, Maryland, Courtney won the Greater Washington Soap Box Derby in June 2008. She became the seventh person in her family to do so.
“This event has been called ‘the greatest amateur racing event in the world’ and it is an excellent opportunity for the contestants from the District Of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia to learn basic building skills while gaining a real sense of accomplishment.
“The soap box derby is not just a race. It is an enriching way to engage our youth, and teach them the importance of ingenuity, commitment, and hard work.
“I strongly encourage my colleagues to join with me and the other original cosponsors, Representatives Chris Van Hollen, Frank Wolf, James Moran, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Donna Edwards, and Gerry Connolly, in supporting this resolution.”