Registration for Nevada City Soap Box Derby |

Registration for Nevada City Soap Box Derby

Christopher Rosacker
Staff Writer

With less than six months to go until the third annual Nevada City Soap Box Derby, prospective racers have only a couple of weeks to register.

Race registration will take place the afternoon of Jan. 19 at Matteo's Public in downtown Nevada City.

A $50 deposit will be required Jan. 19, which goes toward the overall $200 entry fee for each of the 42 allowed teams, and will be due before the race.

"It will be an exciting day," said event organizer Rich Bodine. "The race is shaping up nicely."

In addition to the racers and their teams, the derby entices thousands of people to Pioneer Park and Nimrod Street with activities for kids, games, food booths and other offerings.

"Our big focus this year is to stay with our focus," Bodine said. "The event is meant to be a fun event for the community, for both the teams and spectators, to benefit the park."

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Funds for the burgeoning festivity go to Pioneer Park. Bodine has estimated that the 2012 races raised at least $15,000 — triple the first year's total — thanks to sponsors and 42 participating teams.

The first year's $5,000 went toward a Bocce ball court. Last year's funds are slated to be used to update the picnic grounds and install benches around the swimming pool. The bulk of revenue raised will be used as matching funds to refurbish the lower baseball field that is prone to flooding, as well as installing hiking trails, Bodine said.

Perhaps the biggest change to the derby will be its date. For its first two years, the race took place the Saturday of Father's Day weekend — the day before the Nevada City Classic bicycle race. That weekend also includes the Father's Day Bluegrass Festival in Grass Valley.

Instead, the third annual race is scheduled for June 22, the weekend after Father's Day.

But many other changes are also in store, Bodine noted.

The lifespan of a vehicle has been extended, meaning racers can reuse a vehicle three years before having to rebuild or make alteration, Bodine said. Previously, it had been forewarned that cars had a two-year lifespan.

"After every three years, you have to mix it up a little bit," Bodine said.

Art vehicles, judged on their aesthetic creativity, will not be timed in this year's races, which is aimed at alleviating congestion on the spectator-lined race course, according to a race flier.

Vehicle weights also face a reduction. Speed vehicles may not weigh more than 500 pounds, including the drivers.

And no more than two people may ride on a vehicle at any time.

Art vehicles may not exceed 300 pounds, excluding drivers.

Among other changes, no automobile frames and axles will be permitted, nor will skateboards, luge boards or similar boards and their wheels.

Propulsion beyond gravity will also be barred, including moveable weights, batteries, wind, solar, giant rubber bands, rocket engines and anything else that the judges determine to be too sneaky.

Head-first-style vehicles are also not permitted.

The cost to build each vehicle may not exceed $500.

Teams will be required to submit a sketch along with a brief description of their planned vehicle.

Failure to submit a sketch and full payment within two weeks of registration may result in forfeiture of your team's entry.

For information on the derby, visit

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email or call (530) 477-4236.


WHAT: Nevada City Soapbox Derby

WHEN: From 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., on Jan. 19

WHERE: Matteo’s Public in Nevada City, located 300 Commercial Street, Nevada City

COST: $50 deposit, $200 race fee

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