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It was a fun day in Salem on Saturday, as a soap box derby race was held for mentally and physically challenged children, who put the pedal to the metal, hoping to make it to the national championship.
Adrenaline levels were high for the kids participating in the 8th Annual Quakertown Super Kids soapbox derby race down Broadway Avenue.
“We all like to support each other,” said racer Ian Cole. “It’s fun racing. It’s a good time.”
The race, sponsored by the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce and VFW Post 5532, is for young people between the ages of seven and 19 with physical and mental challenges.
Most of the children can’t participate in other competitive events.
“We give them the chance to come out and compete and have fun,” said race director Janet Keene.
The kids have a great time, but they’re also serious about winning. This is the 5th year for 16-year-old Ian Cole.
“My first year I took 3rd place. My second year I ended up winning. And then from there on, I haven’t been as good. But I still have fun in the process,” said Cole.
“I’ve been in nationals a lot,” added racer Colton Phillips. “I’ve been in 4th place. I’ve been in 4th place in the nationals.”
Family members of participants come out to root them on and show support.
“It’s fun, something different,” said James Gordon of Leetonia.
33 young people from across Ohio and Pennsylvania competed this year, the largest turnout ever.
“I have kids from Pennsylvania. I have kids from Niles, Warren, Steubenville,” explained Keene.
The cars are built and sponsored by area service organizations and businesses. The kids get everything they need from helmets to t-shirts.
Three racers will go on to Akron to compete in the National Super Kids Race.