Searching for shade from the scorching sun, spectators huddled under trees along a closed-off section on Route 12 to cheer on kids racing in their homemade non-motorized contraptions, Saturday morning.
Richard Rogerson built five superhero-themed cars to roll off the ramp and soar down the hill - pulled by gravity - in the ninth annual Tyne Valley Soap Box Derby.
“I’m the grandfather, uncle, and builder. The kids tell me what superhero they like best and then I build the car and hand paint the emblems and colours.”
He motioned to the five cars lined up and ready to race - The Hulk, Wonder Woman, Superman, Flash, and Batman.
“I build houses, so this is a reflection of that handiwork, and it’s fun to paint the emblems,” said Rogerson.
The soap box derby serves as a special fundraiser for the Tyne Valley Oyster Festival, coming up Wednesday, July 31 to Aug. 4.
The community-spirited event gets kids involved in the prelude to the festival, and the All-American Division sends the winner on an expenses-paid trip to Akron, Ohio every year, since 2013.
“It’s a great family event and something the children really enjoy, but it’s not about the winning. It’s about having fun with your family, cheering on loved ones, and showing support in the community,” said Nancy Rogerson, Richard’s wife.
“This is a black and white picture of me racing on Central Street in Summerside at the Lobster Carnival when they use to host the derby in 1957,” said Richard, tapping a faded picture from 62 years ago.
“It’s nice that the grandchildren can do this with their grandpa,” said Nancy. She and Richard have seven grandchildren.
“It takes you back to your roots and good memories. Life is about the moments and we will fondly remember these races in years to come.”
Breigh Rogerson had just raced her car, fuelled by adrenaline.
“It was super fun and I was excited to race down the road,” she said, while brushing aside any fears or doubt of collision.
The Rogerson family plans to participate again in next year’s soap box derby.