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Racing rallies families



Published: Mon, April 11, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Derby racing levels the playing field for all children that are involved.

MINERAL RIDGE -- They came from as far away as Rochester, N.Y.

Soap Box Derby competitors and their families pitched cabana tents and pulled out lawn chairs, shared snacks, sodas and stories.

But Jim Postlethwaite didn't have a minute to kick back. As one of the coordinators of the Soap Box Derby Rally as well as a Derby dad, he was pulled in many directions.

Postlethwaite, 42, of Mineral Ridge, has been involved with Soap Box Derby for six years. He loves the competitions and wishes he'd been able to race when he was growing up.

He's making up for lost years by watching his four children race. With his daughter, McKenzie Shaffer, he's traveled to rallies as far away as Winston-Salem, N.C., and Bristol, Conn. The whole family gets involved, Postlethwaite says. They even have team colors -- a bright lime and blue.

Family affair

"This is fun," he says. "Not only for your kids and how they enjoy [it], but for being able to spend the time with them. That's what I think I like the best."

Soap Box Derby is a family affair, says Linda Eggleston.

"You're not just dropping your kids off at a ball game," she says. "You're actually doing something with them."

Kids don't have to have lots of athletic talent to guide a Derby car, Postlethwaite says. His stepdaughter McKenzie has mild cerebral palsy, and she does well in racing.

"Everybody's car is the same," he says. "It's a level field."

Next to the family atmosphere, Eggleston most enjoys that Soap Box Derby emphasizes sportsmanship.

"They teach you to congratulate your opponent and wish them well," she says. "You learn to be a good sport about everything."




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