There will be no Rappahannock Regional Soap Box Derby this year, as officials decided the risks of COVID-19 were too great to run the race.
Spotsylvania County announced the cancellation Tuesday. The race was set to run May 30 at Dominion Raceway in Thornburg.
“It was extremely tough,” Keith Burgess, president of the soap box derby committee, said of the decision to cancel the 24th annual race. “I love this sport. I love seeing the kids. That’s what it’s all about.”
Burgess said the committee met last week to determine whether to run the race.
He said all other soap box derbies in Virginia, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., have been cancelled, as well as the international race in Akron, Ohio. Winners of the local derby advance to the international race.
“We waited about as long as we could” on the decision, Burgess said. He pointed out that many derby officials are older, putting them in the “high risk category” for the virus. He also said many fans are grandparents who also are in the high risk group.
“We didn’t feel like we could run a comfortable race,” he said.
The soap box derby was held in Fredericksburg from 1997 to 2017, when the city stopped hosting the race because of a drop in participants and sponsors.
Spotsylvania and Dominion Raceway have played host to the race since then.
Despite the setback, derby officials are looking ahead.
“We’ve already started planning for next year,” Burgess said, adding that they already have chosen June 6, 2021, as the date for the next derby. “We’re gonna try to make next year bigger and better for the kids and race families.”