Portland Adult Soap Box Derby moves to shoebox size


PDX Shoebox Derby set for August 15

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — For the past 23 years, the Portland Adult Soap Box Derby featured hand-built racers from the serious to the whimsical racing around a course at Mt. Tabor.

But like most events during the pandemic, the actual 2020 race has been canceled. However, the event goes on — in a miniature replica designed and built in the Axiom Custom Products manufacturing floor in Northeast Portland.

Instead of a soap box, they’re aiming for an event with a shoe box in mind next month and organizers hope it’ll provide the same thrill the big race has provided in the past.

PDX Shoebox Derby

The shoebox derby cars will careen down a 136-foot track designed and built on a miniaturized platform but still topographically true to the layout of the real course on Mt. Tabor.

“The straightaway is called ‘Blood Alley,'” said Jason Deparrie-Turner with the Portland Adult Soap Box Derby. “You hit the learning curve — that’s where you learn if your steering or brakes work and then the big finish. So we really wanted to keep those things in our mini version.”

Axiom actually was voted the best art car several years ago for its Whack-a-mole car that navigated the Mt. Tabor course while others whacked moles that popped out of the chassis.

It’s a fun and whimsical event where spectators go to see the flubs, the rambling wrecks and the wipeouts, and honor and breathe life into the motto: Keep Portland Weird

But the 3D design and build team at Axiom has put several hundred hours into the meticulous designing and building a track to give people a good taste of the real event.

“The whole idea of getting the nuances of what the Soap Box Derby is — which is not like a perfect race — it’s about what could happen,” said Mikele Schmitman with Axiom 3-D Design & Build Team.

You’ll be able to watch the race online August 15 and able to vote for the best art car, the best engineered car, crowd favorite — all in the spirit of not letting the pandemic disrupt the celebrated tradition.

Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus

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