Soap Box Derby Booster

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Illustration of a red soap box racer passing under a finish line arch.  Blue text above and below illustration, red text on left side on a white background.

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In 1947 Duluth, Minnesota, entered the soap box derby scene with help from sponsors including the Duluth Jaycees, a nickname for the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce. The Jaycees is a not for profit organization that trains people ages 18 through 40 in developing leadership skills. The Jaycees helped put on the annual Duluth event where boys ages 11 to 15 raced cars propelled by gravity downhill. Each year the winner in Duluth traveled to Akron, Ohio, to compete in the All-American Soap Box Derby Race. Organized soap box derby racing began in Ohio in 1934. In 1963, Harold “Bo” Conrad, 12, won the race in Duluth and went on to win in Akron. Here is a video about his Akron race: Duluth held races through 1968. Plans for a race in 1969 fell through due to a lack of interest. 


Dierckins, T., & Nelson, N.S. (2017). Duluth’s Derby Downs. In Duluth’s Historic Parks: Their First 160 Years. Retrieved from

[hottyshot17]. (2010, March 12). Soap Box Derby Racing – Duluth, Minn. [Video File]. Retrieved from

Reference Staff at the Duluth Public Library. (2007, July 9). Bygones. Vintage Duluth. Retrieved from

Catalog ID CL0433