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Soap box derby held in South Connellsville

| Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, 8:15 p.m.
Taking part in the seventh-annual soapbox derby in South Connellsville on Oct. 13, 2012 were Drew Gregor (left) and Noah Striner (right). Mark Hofmann | Daiy Courier

The seventh-annual soap box derby race was held Saturday in South Connellsville.

Six racers raced down South Pittsburgh Street, starting at the honor roll.

The derby race was a Connellsville tradition that ended in 1956. The race was then held off of Route 201 near what is now Martin's. Seven years ago, volunteers brought the races back. They were then held in the city on Newmeyer Avenue.

Two years ago, the race was moved to South Connellsville. Drivers started on Pittsburgh Street at the honor roll and sped down to Sullivan Street.

“We're keeping things pretty much the same,” said Tim Etling, one of the derby coordinators.

The bracket ranking system was used in Saturday's race, which means if a racer would lose twice, they would be eliminated.

Etling said Saturday's event was not affiliated with All-American Soap Box Derby, but many of the rules for the cars were based on that association's guidelines.

That includes cars being no wider than 48 inches; no longer than 84 inches; wheel dimension was no more than eight inches; ground clearance was no less than three inches; no motors or power other than gravity moved the car; cars weighed no more than 250 pounds including the driver; all racers wore helmets and they all were at least 7 years of age to participate.

Driving for the first time on Saturday was Noah Striner, 10, of Connellsville. He said he felt like doing it and because the organizers had an extra car with no driver.

While Striner had a few practice runs, he didn't feel nervous about his first time out.“Just having fun,” he said. Striner finished sixth.

Saturday was the third year driving for Meredith Lint, 12, of Connellsville.

“I like being in the competition,” Lint said. “I got second place last year. It felt pretty good.”

Lint placed second on Saturday with Cassidi Butler, 11, of Bullskin taking first place this year. That's a repeat win for her. She also won first last year.

“It feels the same as it felt last year — good,” she said. She said she wasn't sure this year if she won or not.

Placing third was Julia Butler followed by Kaylie Fryer in fourth place and Drew Gregor with a fifth-place win.

Following the race, a car show was held along Pittsburgh Street near the borough building and the South Connellsville Queen, Shelley Scott, 16, was crowned at 2 p.m.

Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or

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