PLAQUEMINE – Cub Scout Pack 21 of Plaquemine hosted the 66th Annual Soapbox Derby from the levee along Main Street this past weekend.
The event drew a total of 38 gravity racers including about a dozen from Pack 39 of Brusly, according to Cub Master Bradley Devillier.
"It is just a Plaquemine tradition," Devillier said. "We have guys whose fathers and grandfathers raced when they were boys. They get to experience what they did when they were younger."
Devillier said the racers are six-feet long and a 200-pound limit is set for the weight of the driver and car. They rely completely upon gravity to move and start on top of a ramp or hill. The Mississippi River levee has provided this service since the event's inception.
"This is kind of unique just to Plaquemine with this size track and the only Cub Scout sanctioned Soapbox Derby in the state that I know of," Devillier said. "They can't do this anywhere else expect where they have a hill."
The event is open to all Cub Scouts in the Istrouma Area Council and held every year in April or May. A rank of Wolf, Bear or Webelo is required to race.
"They will have four years that they can race all together," Devillier said. "It is triple elimination and everybody gets to race on both days. They change lanes after every race so every kid gets to pass down the track at least six times. That is more fun that anything but we have seen people with two losses come back and win the whole thing."
Only one grand champion is awarded after the top finishing six advance to the final round. A Sportsmanship, People's Choice and Car Show award is also presented.
Pack 21's Lucas Sanchez was the first-place winner this weekend aboard "Lighting Destruction II" built by Johnny Sanchez.
Greyson Michel of Pack 39 placed second on "Top Gun III" built by Baco Romero and Rodney LaBauve. Placing third was Pack 39's Trent LaBauve aboard "Swamp People" built by Rodney LaBauve.
Kade Schexnaildre of Pack 21 took fourth on "Taking Care of Business" owned by Chad Schexnaildre and built by Philip Mancuso and Clarence Rome. Pack 39's Clayton Marionneaux was fifth aboard "Good Spirits" owned by Kim T. Panepinto and build by Mancuso and Kenny Guerin and Landon Martinez of Pack 39 took sixth on "Chain Gang Solider" owned by Kim Landry and built by Mancuso.
Sanchez also was the 2013 Soapbox Derby T-shirt design winner.
The Best in Show award went to Pack 21's Hayden Smothers' racer "Twin Turbo" built by Timmy Smothers.
The People's Choice Award was presented to Pack 39's Jude Callais aboard "Sarge" built by Bert Callais.
The Sportsmanship award was given to Pack 21's Clay LeBlanc and Juliana Hebert, sister of Pack 21's Matthew Hebert, was selected the 2013 Pageant Queen.
"This is their first experience driving for these kids and even though this is Main Street, the checkered flag is painted here all year long," Devillier said.