In 1933, Myron Scott, a photographer for the Dayton Daily News in Ohio, came across three boys racing hand-made, motorless cars down a local hill. Tickled by the sight, he invited the boys to come back a week later, with friends, and he would officiate a more formal race.
Nineteen hardscrabble racers showed up. Feeling encouraged, Scott approached his editor. “My boss agreed, somewhat reluctantly, to let me promote a race,” Scott once told a reporter. With $200 from the paper, he hosted a larger derby in Dayton on Aug. 19, 1933. A total of 362 kids brought cars with chassis made of fruit crates and scrap wood propped up on wheels pilfered from baby buggies and roller skates.
According to police estimates, 40,000 people gathered to watch the spectacle. This grew into races all over the USA for many years.
Every year since 1952, Bristol’s girls and boys have been racing down Bay View Ave in the Orange Crate Derby. This is a time for parents, grandparents and children to work together to build cars from scratch or kit. Or just spend a fun afternoon watching.
This event — held in Bristol last Sunday — is one of the many great events the Bristol 4th of July Committee plans.
Brian W. Clark
7 Heritage Road