Soap box derby in Powell River moves to Barnet Street

Popular racing tradition coincides with Rotary bike rodeo

Two family friendly events are happening in close proximity this Sunday, May 26. Rotary Club of Powell River’s Bike Safety Rodeo and Kiwanis Club of Powell River’s Soap Box Derby both have a long history in the community.

The rodeo started more than 25 years ago, and the derby’s first race took place on the then-unpaved Westview Avenue in 1947. For several years it has been held on Lois Street in Wildwood alongside Sunset Park.

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“This year we’ve gone from Wildwood to Barnet Street,” said Kiwanis Club member and derby coordinator Don Allen.

The hope is a more central location, close to the bike rodeo, will boost participation.

“We’ve noticed attendance dropping off a bit and we thought by coinciding our event in town with Rotary’s bike rodeo that it gives Rotary and Kiwanis a chance to work together,” he added.

The bike safety rodeo, aimed at children aged five to 12 years old, will happen at First Credit Union’s parking lot on Joyce Avenue beginning at 10 am and running until 2 pm.

The soapbox derby starts at 11 and goes until roughly 5 pm.

“Our event will run longer than theirs so people attending the rodeo will still be able to come to the derby and at least watch the event,” said Allen.

Those interested in participating as racers must be aged seven and up and can register in the morning before racing starts.

“We do have some carts available for people who just don’t have the wherewithal to provide their own cart,” added Allen.

Barnet Street between Manson Avenue and Ontario Avenue will be closed off from traffic during the day. Racing will take place between Cook Avenue and Redonda Avenue.

“We didn’t want to be interfering with any of the businesses below that,” said Allen. “The [City of Powell River] has been great in helping see this through. They’ve redirected the bus route for the day and have given us clearance to close off the street.”

Although no one has tried out the new hill yet, Allen is enthusiastic it will be a great race.

“We haven’t had an opportunity to send anybody down on a cart yet, but it’s a good hill,” he said. “It’ll be a good run.”

The derby will also feature a barbecue and face painting.

Allen said the Kiwanis Club is actively seeking new members, preferably younger energetic ones.

“We hope to lower our average age in the club and get some younger blood in there,” he added. “I know last year I was saying this is my last year [of running the derby]. We’re all getting older, us Kiwanians.”

For more information on the group and meeting times, contact Allen at


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