OSAWATOMIE — Cause for celebration doesn’t end after Osawatomie High School alumni activities wrap up Memorial Day weekend.
The following Saturday, June 1, the community will make history with its inaugural Soap Box Derby race on Main Street — the first of its kind to take place in Kansas.
The Osawatomie Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the Kansas City Soap Box Derby and the city of Osawatomie, will host “Tornado Alley Rally.” The sanctioned All-American Soap Box race will take place on Main Street, starting at 12th Street and rolling down the incline to 10th Street.
A sanctioned race means the top drivers can earn points toward qualifying for a trip to the world championship.
Hitomi Lamirande, the chamber’s executive director, said the all-day event is one of the first sanctioned races of the season and should attract some experienced drivers, who will put their skills to the test against some local youth, many of whom will be racing for the first time.
Lamirande’s son, Kiyoshi, is one Osawatomie resident who is no stranger to the sport.
Kiyoshi won the 2018 district championship in Kansas City, Mo., to qualify for the world championships in Akron, Ohio. He is a member of the Kansas City Soap Box Derby group, which urges boys and girls ages 7 to 21 to come catch the “Thrill of the Hill.”
Lamirande is hopeful the thrill of the sport will extend to the community once Osawatomie has had a taste of Soap Box Derby racing.
She invites the public to bring out their lawn chairs and set up along the race route on Main Street to witness “the only Soap Box race in the state of Kansas.”
Mayor Mark Govea and Police Chief Dave Ellis will race to kick off Tornado Alley Rally at 9 a.m. that Saturday. The competition is expected to begin about 9: 15 a.m.
Double and single elimination racing will continue throughout the day. An awards ceremony is planned for 5 p.m., though it could take place later, Lamirande said, depending on when the races wrap up.
The Chamber’s website lists some of the local drivers who are schedule to compete.
Stock Division: Jack Burchett, Wyatt Farr, Kiyoshi Lamirande, Charlee and Emma Lawless, Bailey Madden, Cooper Powell, Blake Scheffer, Cash and Olivia Seymour.
Super Stock Division: Seth Aguire, Noah Matney, Alyssa Haefele, Chase Homrighausen, Sabrina Kasper, Gage Seymour, Ryan Thurman and Walker Beets, who will race in the Auten Pharmacy car.
The event is scheduled to take place rain or shine, with some limitations.
“We will wait out any passing storms,” Lamirande said. “Races will still occur in the rain as long as there is no lightning and it’s safe.”
If storms persist and conditions become unsafe, the rally will resume Sunday, June 2, at the same time and place.
“I urge everyone to come out and enjoy the day with your families,” Lamirande said.