Soap box derby competitors on a roll in Martinsburg race

June 12, 2011
  • Brady Cutright of Martinsburg, W.Va., crosses the finish line Saturday at the 2011 ROCS Soap Box Derby on South Queen Street in Martinsburg.
Submitted photo

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Emily Butts and Tory Ann Stolipher, both of Martinsburg, placed first in three race categories of Saturday’s 2011 ROCS Soap Box Derby, according to a news release.

The Berkeley County event was sponsored by ROCS Convenience Stores and was run by the Norwalk Antique Car Club, the release said.

Winners of each division in local contests move on to the national competition in Akron, Ohio, in July, the release said.

Butts, 10, took first place in the Stock Division. Because she previously had the opportunity to race in that division in national competition, she relinquished her spot at the nationals to local second-place winner Damion Knepper, 11, who has never raced in Akron, according to the release.

Stolipher, 15, won the Super Stock and Masters divisions. Because drivers can only compete in one division at the national level, she chose to go to the nationals in the Super Stock class. The second-place finisher in the local Masters Division, Trey Knepper, will compete in that category in Akron, according to the release.

The release said Butts and Stolipher were presented with $100 U.S. savings bonds by ROCS President Steve Roach, who urged the girls to save them for their college educations.

An estimated 200 people lined Martinsburg’s South Queen Street to watch contestants roll down the hill starting across from the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Library to the finish line in front of the St. Joseph Catholic Church office, according to the release.

The derby started in Dayton, Ohio, in 1933, and has grown every year since, pausing only during World War II, the release said.

Last year’s Berkeley County winners, according to the release, were 7-year-old Mark Perkins in the Stock Division; Taylor Riner, 14, in the Super Stock Division; and Cody Brindle, 14, in the Masters Division.

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