IMG_5394

The 17th annual Big Hill Box Cart Derby on Elbow Cay (Hope Town) in the Abacos was once again a cool day of racing and fun.  The event raised over $2,500 which will aid in supporting youth programs on the island, which include the Hope Town Junior Sailing Program, the Abaco Swim Club and in the past has helped to build the community children’s playground among many others.  It happens every year on the Saturday of American Thanksgiving, this year’s date was 28th November 2015.

Held every year and organized with the leadership of Stafford Patterson, Patrick Stewart and Tom Hazel, it wasn’t always so.  The early days involved bric-a-brac carts built out of anything participants could find in the backyard.  Stories are told of carts made of dock pilings and steel drums or plywood with skateboard wheels and other crazy contraptions.  In the beginning there were many epic crashes, sadly (though maybe a good thing) this is long before everyone walked around with a smartphone video camera.  I was not around for these first iterations of the derby but the stories are entertaining to say the least.  And fortunately there were no tragic accidents to dampen the spirit of the event.  There have been some serious crashes over the past years involving a few broken bones and lots of road rash. Happily this year there were no major crashes which is a testament to how far things have come and the quality of the carts and drivers.

The winner for the 6th year straight in the Senior division was Otis Christian Wilhoyte with the gravity defying custom built cart named “White Lightning”.  The youngest driver and the winner of the junior division was Blake Cash who was fearless and determined.

This years Derby saw a total of 13 Junior entrants (age 9 – 14) and 9 Senior (15 – up) entries, 1 down from last years 22 (Juniors 8, Adults 12) so our Junior entries saw a 50% increase due to the introduction of a kit for beginners.   The two classes (Adult and Junior) run under local rules, very simple and basic with emphasis on safety. Overall winner of the day is determined by a combined score from the 3 categories (Downhill, Slalom and Showmanship).

A breakdown of the entry types show that the Juniors had:

  • 5 American Soapbox style carts
  • 4 Beginners wooden kit cars (new Class)
  • 3 Scrapped together
  • 1 Skateboard

The Adult class had:

  • 3 Scrapped together
  • 3 fancy homebuilts
  • 2 American Soapbox
  • 1 Skateboard

 

There were many more attendees this year and most of whom stayed longer to watch than past years due to the addition of 75 bleacher style seats alongside the racetrack. Attendance estimated to be 300+.  The event could not happen without the support of almost 40 volunteers who help to organize, get permits, track preparation and clean up, bleacher setup, food and beverage setup and sales.  The event truly speaks to the community spirit of the island.

Here is a short video ditty of the carts running down the hill:

More Photos:

In summary, this is a wonderful example of why Abaco is a great place to live, visit or invest in a second home.  Hope to see you there next year.

Advertisements