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Really illegal soapbox derby
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Image by Telstar Logistics

Slapping a baby into your Illegal Soapbox Derby car:

  • Makes the baby the luckiest kid in the world (or, is he crying?)
  • Will come back to haunt you when aforementioned baby reaches driving age
  • And probably lessens your chances of getting arrested


Here’s a good account of what conspired
. An excerpt:

Well, turns out there’s a reason why it’s called the *Illegal* Soapbox Derby.

When we arrived at Bernal Speedway in San Francisco to take in the 2008 running of the Illegal Soapbox Derby, some unpleasantness ensued between the racers and several representatives of the San Francisco Police Department. It seems the Parks Department had received a pre-race complaint from someone in the Bernal Heights Temperance and Abstinence League, and the cops were under orders to put the kibosh on the event. (According to the police, San Francisco Supervisor Tom Ammiano had attempted to intervene on behalf of the Soapbox Derby, but to no avail — Ammiano was overruled by the bureaucrats at the Parks Department. Thanks for trying, Tom!)

Major buzzkill.

After some futile and frustrating attempts at negotiation, the crowd dispersed peacefully and relocated (no less peacefully) to an another gravity-rich location elsewhere in the city.

Here’s some more pictures of the illegal rolling (baby-friendly?) mayhem:

I know San Francisco’s particularly suitable terrain for an event like this, but I also know people in other cities enjoy sending infants spiraling down hills. What are your other favorite DIY races?

14 thoughts on “Really illegal soapbox derby

  1. Blimey! Do you get charged for manslaughter or murder when the baby dies during a soapbox derby wreck?

    In soapbox derbys, the probability of wreck occurring during the race approaches 1. Now, if this particular car gets involved in that wreck, all it takes is one flip and that kid is dead. Why needlessly endanger a child by placing him or her into such a contraption?

  2. was in it a few times, some really creative cars. This year there was a transforming Optimus Prime, stopped in the middle of the race, changed into a robot (all power driven from what I could tell), changed back and rolled on. Previous years, Godzilla smashing a city, 1/4 scale 1972 winibego, lots of fish, several bunnies driving carrots (quite often a unofficial theme appears). etc.
    The best comment I’ve overheard was “this is a great hangover day”

  3. This is super stupid on this guys part. Like the other commenter mentioned the baby has no helmet and the guy does. Wrecks happen quite often in soap box racing. Here in L.A. some guy died either this year or last in the San Fernando Valley Illegal Soapbox Federation. I don’t think that has stopped them from having races though.

  4. In New York City we do the Idiatarod every year. Like a dogsled race with people instead of dogs and ea shopping cart instead of a sled. Plus everyone is wearing costumes and having a food fight. and drunk.

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Luke Iseman

Luke Iseman makes stuff, some of which works. He invites you to drive a bike for a living (dirtnailpedicab.com), stop killing your garden (growerbot.com), and live in an off-grid shipping container (boxouse.com).

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