In this 2013 photo Damian Barlow, 11, poses with his winning derby car and trophy from the Tyne Valley Soap Box Derby. Barlow is in the Akron, Ohio, for the 77th Annual All-American Soap Box Derby. Colin MacLean/Journal Pioneer
AKRON, OHIO – As his friends race down the hill at Saturday’s Tyne Valley Soap Box Derby, Damian Barlow will be speeding along a different path all together.
The 11-year-old Port Hill resident placed first in last year’s American Super Stock category in Tyne Valley, earning himself the right to travel to Akron, Ohio, for the 77th Annual All-American Soap Box Derby.
That event is also being held this Saturday, July 26.
The Journal Pioneer reached Damian with his family in between practice runs in Akron on Wednesday.
Typical of many sport’s stars, this racer is a person of few words.
“It’s good,” he said of the trip, so far.
“It’s fun going down the hill. There’s a lot of different cars.”
At that point the phone got passed back to mom, Bobi-Jo.
“It is a very big deal down here,” said Bobi-Jo, of the event.
“They take it pretty seriously.”
More than 500 soap box cars in various categories and thousands of spectators attending more than a dozen events makes up the All-American event.
As for how Damian is handling the whole experience, he seems to taking it all in stride, said Bobi-Jo.
“He’s pretty laid back. I think we’re pretty much just kind of feeding off him … so we’re just going with the flow.”
Since the family arrived last Sunday, they’ve taken part in a parade, ceremonies, practice runs and other events.
It’s been a busy, but fun, week, said Bobi-Jo.
Damian’s division, the super stock, runs Saturday starting at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
There are about 150 kids in his division racing three to a heat. Elimination is sudden death.
There is also a competition reserved specifically for kids traveling from outside the U.S., so Damian will be participating in that event as well.
If anyone would like to take in some of the events on Saturday they can check out the live stream on the event’s webpage www.aasbd.org.