SALEM- It may not be Daytona, but the biggest racing event for some area children took place downtown Saturday morning.
The Salem Retail and Business Association and the Washingtonville Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 5532 hosted the seventh annual Quakertown Super Kids Classic, a soapbox derby event for children with physical or mental challenges, on Broadway Avenue where family and friends of 31 area racers lined the street to watch the youth speed downhill in their soapbox derby cars.
Austin Sheets, 11, of Salem took first in the single driver bracket for the second consecutive year while Jadyn Phillips, 7, of Hanoverton won the doubles bracket. Amber Felger, 17, of Columbiana was selected as the wild card finisher. Each will compete in the National Super Kids Classic held in July in Akron.
The Salem Retail and Business Association and the Washingtonville Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 5532 hosted the seventh annual Quakertown Super Kids Classic Saturday in downtown Salem. A soapbox derby event for children with physical or mental challenges, the race featured 31 area youth. Winners who will move on to the National National Super Kids Classic held in July in Akron, from left, Austin Sheets, 11, of Salem, singles; Amber Felger, 17, of Columbiana, wildcard; and Jadyn Phillips, 7, of Hanoverton, doubles. (Salem News photo by Kevin Howell)
Although there are winners, there are no losers in the event, according to Director Janet Keene.
"For some of these kids, this is one of the only competitive activities that they can participate in, so the best part is always the smiles at the end of the day," she said.
The event, resurrected as part of the city's bicentennial celebration in 2006, is entirely volunteer driven, Keene noted.
"We couldn't do it without the help of all our volunteers and sponsors," she said. Area businesses and organizations sponsored each of the 22 derby cars used for the event and volunteers helped prepare and retrieve the cars at the beginning and end of each race. Area youth also served as ghost drivers for the racers unable to operate their own car.
The event also enjoyed a sharp increase in participation thanks to the lower minimum age of 7, Keene said.
"We went from 20 last year to 31 this year," she said. "This year the we have several kids who wouldn't have been able to compete last year."
In addition to the winners, this year's participants included Isaac Bates, 9, Alliance; Ella Beary, 10, Leetonia; Diana Clark, 11, Salem; Jacob Clark, 8, Salem; Ian Cole, 15, Salem; Steven Demidovich, 11, North Lima; Sierra Edwards, 12, Leetonia; Megan Freeze, 12, Hubbard; Zack Henderson, 14, Columbiana; Makayla Hum, 7, Salem; Jax Johnson, 16, Salem; Dusty Kelly, 16, Leetonia; Brian Kinser, 9, Salem; Tyler Kinser, 9, Salem; Lexi Krosky, Columbiana; Alexander Lewis, 7, Salem; Patsy McCartney, 15, East Liverpool; Logan Miller, 15, Beloit; Dakota Murphy, 12, Salem;Hunter Parks, 13, Negley; Madison Parks, 14, Steubenville; Colton Phillips, 12, Hanoverton; Noah Prenzlin, 12, Niles; Blake Rebel, 16, Warren; Mary Spence, 13, Salem; Caleb Tami, 10, Leetonia; Tyler Young, 15, Deerfield; and Sam Zitello, 13, North Jackson.
City Auditor Betty Brothers, city Councilman K. Bret Apple and VFW Post 5532 Commander Jeff Zeck served as judges.
Kevin Howell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org