FirstEnergyAll-American Soap Box Derby Countdown

Local History

History of the National Super Kids Classic®


In 1980 the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter #34 had a community project and their undertaking was to assist with the local Akron Soap Box Derby. A veteran named Dave Mitan was working with the racers when he felt a tug on his shirt. Turning around to look who was trying to get his attention, he saw a special needs child next to a brother competing in the event. That small child asked, “Why can’t I do that?” Dave’s heart was so moved and his spirit so touched that he began discussing the experience with member veterans. The Chapter immediately met with the All-American Soap Box Derby, designed and built the cars. In 1981, the first Super Kids Classic was held in Akron, Ohio, and indeed on the same hill used by the All-American Soap Box Derby. Although the founding veterans maintained troublesome moments and disabilities from their own war experiences, they were overcome by these special children’s smiling faces, positive attitude, and desire to compete. These wonderful kids were indeed “Super Kids” and thus the race was named the Super Kids Classic. In the years that followed and as the Akron veterans traveled around the country, they shared their “Super Kids” experience, detailed the project, gave advice, and passed out handbooks including blueprints for the cars. At the Vietnam Veterans of America National Convention in 1989, a resolution was passed to allow local chapters across the nation to hold races in their local communities. The local Super Kids Classic committee participants and board members, while working on the annual event year after year, also had a much bigger dream — a national race in which youngsters who were not able to participate in the All-American Soap Box Derby race could experience a race of their own. On August 9, 2003, the National Super Kids Classic in Akron, OH became a reality. The same hill, the home of the All-American Soap Box Derby, known as Derby Downs, became the home of the National Super Kids Classic. A very sincere thank you to all persons who made the event possible. Just as important, the long hours afforded and contributions made are greatly appreciated and will be long remembered