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All downhill from here

Three qualify for the 71st All-American Soap Box Derby

Three qualify for the 71st All-American Soap Box Derby

June 08, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - After losing last year by four-hundredths of second, Texas "Tex" Cobb needed little motivation Saturday in the Norwalk Soap Box Derby.

"Just the one time I had a bad run, it happened to be (at the end)," the 11-year-old Charles Town, W.Va., boy said of his second-place finish last year.

This year was going to be different.

Only weeks removed from belting his first "out-of-the-park" home run in Little League and recently receiving four academic awards at Wright Denny Intermediate School, Cobb's mother, Katherine, sensed her son would avenge the stinging defeat.

"He's on this roll - this is his year," Cobb said after her son won the Stock Division of The ROCS Convenience Stores Classic by less than three-hundredths of a second.

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"I was hoping I'd win, and if I didn't, I was going to be a little irritated," Cobb said. "Especially if I was going to lose by three-hundredths of a second or something."

With the win, Cobb, along with Super Stock and Master Division winners Shelby Knepper and Alexis Voorhees, qualified to compete July 26 in the world championships of the 71st All-American Soap Box Derby race in Akron, Ohio.

Cobb said his believes his chances of winning there are "just as good as anyone else's."

Saturday's race the fourth derby for both Voorhees and Cobb.

All smiles, Voorhees, who just completed her freshman year at Musselman High School, said finally winning was "awesome."

"I had my hopes," Voorhees said after she and the other winners were paraded along the South Queen Street race course aboard three-wheel motorcycles.

Shelby Knepper, who will be a sophomore at Hedgesville High School in the fall, said she nearly pulled off a win last year, but struck a cone.

Her brother, Trey Knepper, finished second to Voorhees in the Masters Division this year.

"It's all a big family sport," Shelby Knepper said.

While watching her 12-year-old daughter compete Saturday, Rose Shickle said the Soap Box Derby is a wholesome activity for children and it is relatively easy to join in the fun.

"It doesn't cost an arm and a leg," said Shickle, whose daughter, Hanna, and son, Hunter, both have finished second in the derby.

Event director Dina Edwards said she was pleased with the Saturday's event. Aside from a tire problem on one car and a brake cable repair needed on another, Edwards said the competition went smoothly. The last race was decided about 1 p.m., less than five hours after the 8:30 a.m. start. Volunteers began setting up the race course at 3:30 a.m.

"I got them out of here before it was too blistering hot - I hope," Edwards said.

At the Berkeley 2000 Recreation Center in Martinsburg today, Edwards said all 58 competitors will be presented with trophies in an awards banquet. A pool party at Lambert Park will follow, she said.

Martinsburg's first derby was held in 1936, but went on a hiatus after 1951 and wasn't staged again until 2000.

Derby results

The following are the results from the 2008 Norwalk Soap Box Derby in Martinsburg, W.Va. The first-place finishers will compete July 26 in the world championships of the 71st All-American Soap Box Derby race in Akron, Ohio.

· Masters Division

First - Alexis Voorhees

Second - Trey Knepper

Third - Cody Brindle

Fourth - Brady Martin

· Super Stock Division

First - Shelby Knepper

Second - Zachary Frye

Third - Tierney Riner

Fourth - Haley Pitzer

· Stock Division

First - Texas Cobb

Second - Hanna Shickle

Third - Ross Carpenter

Fourth - Brady Martin

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