Racers ready for Pottsville Area Soap Box Derby on Saturday

POTTSVILLE — Nearly four dozen young racers will speed down Laurel Boulevard in their gravity-propelled cars Saturday in the latest rendition of the Pottsville Area Soap Box Derby.

Forty-seven racers have signed up for this year’s derby, which will begin around 9 a.m., with the street closed to traffic from Second to Seventh streets.

Four racers are competing in the Masters division, 20 in the Super Stock division and 23 in Stock.

“I look forward to it every year,” said Alexandria Womer, of Pottsville, who will compete in the derby for the eighth time, this time in the Super Stock division.

Alexandria, 15, won the Masters title in 2022 and went on to compete in the All-American Soap Box Derby in Akron, Ohio.

Each local division champion is required to compete in a different division at the following year’s competition.

“I like the Super Stock because there’s more technique behind it,” Alexandria said. “You actually have to try harder in Super Stock than Masters.”

Also returning for the derby this year are Minersville residents Mackaiden Sinko, 13, and his brother Brantley, 10. Mackaiden, who is racing in the Super Stock division, said he feels pretty good about his chances on Saturday.

The winners of their respective divisions will move on to the 86th FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby in July.

Some local racers have set up their cars at the Pottsville Area Soap Box Derby’s new headquarters at 802 Laurel Blvd.

The 30-by-66-foot metal building, which has been used by the derby for about a month, currently holds 20 of the cars ahead of Saturday’s race.

The land was donated to the derby by the Pottsville Lions Club, while the building was paid for by donations from various companies.

Derby President Barbie Womer Carroll said that having a dedicated facility near the race site makes it easier to prepare cars ahead of the event. The building can hold 50 to 60 cars.

The rest of the cars, she said, are currently being stored at the old derby facility in Mechanicsville.

Carroll said that work on the property is mostly complete, with some electrical work and landscaping remaining.

“We’re happy to finally have our own home,” she said.