Members of the Port Alberni Kinsmen Club were at the Arrowsmith View Street Market on Wednesday, July 10 to promote the Little Lightning in the Valley soapbox derby. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Port Alberni’s soapbox derby offers televised event

Fourth annual event will take place on Lower Argyle on July 20

The Port Alberni Kinsmen Club will be holding its fourth annual Little Lightning in the Valley soapbox derby on Saturday, July 20.

This year will be bigger and better than ever, with Shaw TV broadcasting the event live both on Channel 4 and on YouTube.

“[Shaw] wanted to help out and get in on it,” explained Kinsman Mike Hadley. “It was always our vision to try and grow the event to where it’s not just a one-day thing.”

The first soapbox derby took place in 2016 on Upper Argyle Street, with 35 competitors and hundreds of spectators. In 2018, the event was moved to Lower Argyle and was opened up to ‘Tykes’ under the age of six.

The goal of the Kinsmen is to eventually make it a two-day event, hosting a race for adults as well as kids. This year, GP Excavating has built a cart and will be launched down Argyle Street on Saturday—giving viewers a glimpse of what an adult race could look like.

“We want to plant the seeds for next year and make people excited,” said Hadley.

There are some other changes for the fourth annual races, too. The Kinsmen have gone “all out” with the prizes, thanks to some help from local sponsors. There are 16 trophies to be won—including prizes for Straight Shooter, Best Cart, Best Costume and Hard Luck.

Jericho Road Church helped out this year with some cart workshops, opening their shop and volunteering their equipment to help participants build their carts. The church is hoping to provide the same services next year, as well.

But Kinsman Jason Ferguson said the biggest change is the look of the course. This year, the hay bales up and down Argyle Street will be lined with banners, sponsored by local businesses.

“We’re really trying to get that race course look,” Ferguson explained.

Port Alberni RCMP Speed Watch volunteers are also on board for the second year in a row and will be capturing and displaying speeds as participants race down the roadway.

READ: Hay bales and high fives for Port Alberni soapbox derby

But despite the changes, the Little Lightning in the Valley is staying true to its roots.

“It’s just a fun, straight shot right to the finish line,” said Hadley. “We’re going to try to do three to four runs this year.”

Other communities on Vancouver Island, such as Ucluelet, have expressed interest in starting their own soapbox derby event based on Port Alberni’s. This year, several volunteers from Ucluelet will be participating.

Hadley says the event is successful year after year due to a “hodge-podge army of volunteers.” Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Mike Hadley (call 250-734-6453 or email MikeAlberniKinsmen@gmail.com) or Jason Ferguson (call 250-731-4114 or email JayFerg85@gmail.com).

“There’s no such thing as too many volunteers,” Hadley joked.

The race begins at 11 a.m., with setup starting at 10 a.m. The track starts below Third Avenue and ends at the sidewalk near the train station, just before the industrial road. Spectators are welcome.



elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Talks continue over new aquatic centre for Alberni Valley

Joint ACRD, City of Port Alberni committee asks for staff report on next steps

BCHL: Bulldogs’ win streak snapped by Powell River Kings

Josh Zary had the lone goal for Port Alberni

Alberni vet heading to Africa with Veterinarians Without Borders

Dr. Roberta Templeton and her vet husband will help dairy farmers in Uganda

B.C.-born hockey official talks to IIHF about switching European rule book to NHL rules

Rob Shick will represent NHL at 4th World Hockey Forum in Russia

Campbell River mom’s iPhone containing priceless photos stolen from Victoria hospital parkade

The phone contained photos, heartbeat recordings of her late son

Sail Past lights up Alberni Inlet

Annual Sail Past took place at Harbour Quay

Province sues over sailing incident that killed teen with disabilities

Gabriel Pollard, 16, died from injuries after marine lift failed

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Assessed value of Lower Mainland homes expected to decrease in 2020

Other areas of province may see modest increases over last year’s values

Chilliwack family’s therapy dog injured in hit and run

Miniature pit bull Fifty’s owner is a single mother facing close to $10,000 in vet bills

Cougar destroyed in Penticton area after mauling dog, killing cat

This is the first reported incident with a cougar this year in the Penticton area

Feds not enforcing standards on Hungarian duck imports, B.C. farmer says

‘You have no way of knowing what’s in the bag’

No reports yet of Canadians affected by New Zealand volcano eruption, feds say

Missing and injured included tourists from the U.S., China, Australia, Britain and Malaysia

Vancouver Island blues musician’s mother’s home burglarized and ransacked

David Gogo’s 71-year-old mother has jewelry and artwork stolen in break-in

Most Read