DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Greater Des Moines Soap Box Derby is up and running again after thieves stole nearly $15,000 worth of equipment.
“The community reached out to us in a great way. We had people from Omaha, Nebraska, come down and bring us their timers and scales so we could get this race going. We’ve had people from all over the Midwest come to attend this race and support our organization, it’s been really great,” said Treasurer Patrick Nigon.
The stolen equipment included timers, scales, computers, PA equipment, and cars for those children who couldn’t afford to build their own.
The local community has raised over $5,000 for the derby on their GoFundMe page, but the organization is still a few thousand short of being able to replace everything that was taken.
“We’re going to be able to be up and going again here shortly, we’re going to be able to purchase some new equipment and we’re really excited about the next season to come, and we’re going to be doing this for a long time and helping families and teaching young people," said Nigon.
Being able to race on Saturday was of incredible importance to the young racers who have dedicated themselves to soap box. If the race wasn’t pulled together, they would not have had the chance to earn the points they needed to qualify for the world championships in Akron, Ohio.
“I was absolutely relieved that they were making up this race ‘cause there’s one person behind me that I needed to keep on racing so I could keep on getting points to stay ahead of them,” said 13-year-old Garrett Cantrell.
The stolen equipment has not been recovered, but Garrett has a message to the thieves.
“I’d just be disappointed in them because they’re taking away from kids,” he said.
The Greater Des Moines Soap Box Derby is a community non-profit.