Family tradition of soapbox racing continues
Published 7:00 am Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Saturday added another generation of competitors from the local Picayune Farmer family to the annual Deborah Washington Soapbox Derby roster.
Seven-year-old twins Cooper and Chloe Farmer, second grade students at West Side Elementary, competed in the stock car category of the annual Deborah Washington Soapbox Derby in Moss Point this past weekend. Cooper finished sixth place in his division with his sister Chloe right on his bumper finishing seventh.
The twins built their cars with the help of their father, Lucas Farmer, and grandfather, Fred Smallwood. “The twins turned a few screws,” in the construction process said their grandmother Sandi Farmer. Smallwood has been helping his children and grandchildren compete in soapbox derbies since 1992.
Cooper’s car displayed the bright red Farmer Enterprises logo as a symbol of his family’s sponsorship and support. Chloe raced her bright pink car with the Young Living logo.
With seven family members competing in the Derby before them, Chloe and Cooper were very excited to be able to compete in this year’s competition since they finally reached the minimum age requirement.
Two weeks before race day, the twins had the chance to test their custom built cars with other derby newcomers. Farmer said Cooper sped through the practice ramp three or four times with ease and composure. Chloe was a little more hesitant, choosing to start her first run halfway up the ramp before going for the full track.
However, when the competition began, both children were ready to show their skills.
“I would have thought they would be trash talking, but it was all done in good fun and they were thoroughly happy all day,” said Farmer.
After racing other competitors, Cooper and Chloe lined up side by side and faced off against each other. In the first of two rounds, Cooper crossed the finish line first. Despite Chloe’s victory in the second round, Cooper had a better average time, allowing him to win the heat and move to the next round said Farmer.
Cooper made a habit of shaking his competitors hands before and after every race, win or lose. This act of sportsmanship won him the “Spirit of the Derby” award, given by the Derby committee to the racer with the most sportsmanlike conduct said Farmer.
The derby is made up of four divisions: stock, super stock, super kids, and masters. As the twins get older, they are hoping to progress through the upper divisions with an increasing amount of challenge.
According to the SunHerald, the first place winners in each division were:
Stock: Mason Parrish of Hurley
Super stock: Davis Magee of Pascagoula
Super kids: Henry Waters of Pascagoula
Masters: Karis Fortner of Texas