The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Kathleen Stinson
The Staff of The News 

Soapbox Derby winner off to nationals


Last updated 7/5/2022 at 3:45pm

Courtesy photo

Winner of the June 25 running of the Clovis Soap Box Derby, DJ Padilla, 10, with trophy, his racer and Kent Carruthers, president of Citizens Bank, Padilla's sponsor.

It's summer and that means it is time for the All-American, now gone global, tradition of soap box derby races.

Clovis, New Mexico held its local soap box derby race June 25 and 10-year-old DJ Padilla finished First Place. He will go onto the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby World Championship in Akron, Ohio held from July 17-23.

"The Local Race Program is a race held annually by this Soap Box Derby licensed Local Race Organization," as stated on the website. "A participant is required to enter and compete in the Local Race closest to his or her residence. The winner of a Local Race is called a "Local Champion" and is eligible to compete in the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby World Championship in Akron, Ohio against other Local Champions."

DJ's mother Danielle Ciancio said racers "go off a ramp" steering their cars for about a block and a half on Sycamore Street in Clovis. "I think there were about 16 drivers."

DJ was sponsored by Citizens Bank of Clovis, where Ciancio works. The bank provided the soap box.

For DJ, who attends Grady Municipal School and will enter the fifth grade next year, this is his second race, Ciancio said. He finished second place in the race last year.

While DJ is happy to win, he said he is "sad because I can't race again next year."

Once a racer wins, he or she cannot enter again, his mother said.

Asked what he enjoys about racing, DJ said: "I get to meet new people and I'm racing against them and I get to go fast."

"He had never done anything like this before (the first race) so I told him to go out and have fun," Ciancio said. "It's just something new to do."

"We're excited to go to Ohio on July 17 and compete in the finals," she said.

"The greatest gravity racers in the world will come together at the world-famous Derby Downs Track in Akron, Ohio, July 17-23 for the 84th running of the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby," as stated on the website."Champs from around the world will reach speeds in excess of 30 mph as they race down the 989' track in hopes of earning the title of World Champion!"


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