FirstEnergyAll-American Soap Box Derby Countdown


2015 President's Youth Volunteer Service Award Winners


Three youth volunteers of the Soap Box Derby program have been selected as recipients of the inaugural President’s Youth Volunteer Service Award. The Award was established to recognize youth under the age of 21 who have made a positive impact on the Soap Box Derby® program by volunteering and mentoring on the local or national level.

 “These three individuals truly represent the best of the best when it comes to kids who are involved with our program,” said Joe Mazur, president and CEO of International Soap Box Derby, Inc. “All three are high character kids who have made positive impacts on the Soap Box Derby program in their respective communities.”

The recipients are:

JORDAN PRUDEN, Bowling Green, Ky., age 19. Even before Jordan was old enough to race he was always around the shop in Bowling Green, Ky., working to help anyone needing assistance in ensuring compliance with the Derby rules and making their car more competitive. Jordan has volunteered his time not only in his hometown but throughout the Midwest at Rally and Local races helping run races as well as participate himself. He has also helped train many families throughout the Midwest on how to build Soap Box Derby cars. He continues to help promote racing to younger racers and push them to excel and because of his influence the continued success of races in Bowling Green is assured. No matter where he goes people know him by name and are familiar with his reputation as a racer and as a person who is always ready to lend a hand to others in need. Jordan has represented his area eight times at the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby World Championship in Akron, Ohio.  

AARON ROHRBAUGH, Culpeper, Va., age 17. Aaron is a Junior Committee member of the Piedmont Area Soap Box Derby Foundation in Culpeper, Va., and has made a positive impact on the future of the organization as well as the entire community. He is a mentor and lends his talents to other young drivers, showing them the “ins and outs” of set up and tear down during Derby events. His expertise in problem solving and thinking “outside the box” has given the Piedmont organization new energy to explore the pass less traveled. Aaron has taught others in the organization that obstacles are merely an opportunity to learn and achieve. Aaron has represented his area four times at the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby World Championship Race in Akron, Ohio.  

TAKATERU “TERU” YAMAMOTO, Japan, age 17. Teru’s mother, Noriko Yamamoto, established the All Nippon Soap Box Derby Association and has worked passionately the past 16 years to promote the organization throughout Japan. From 2000-2005 Teru was the face of the ANSBD as his parents carted him around and he was photographed in a Soap Box Derby car for marketing flyers and brochures. Since 2005 Teru has fearlessly mentored and supported not only the Japan Soap Box Derby champion but also the champion’s family as well. Teru consistently acts as the “face” of Soap Box Derby racing in Japan helping with public relations campaigns and explaining to neighborhood businesses and community leaders what Soap Box Derby racing means to children. Teru represented Japanat the 2008 FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby World Championship race in Akron.

Nominations for the Award could come from Local Race Directors, Local Race Presidents, members of the Racing Commission and Rally Commission, Regional Directors, Board of Directors or Soap Box Derby Headquarter Staff.  

The Awards will be handed out as part of the 78th FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby race day awards program at Akron’s Civic Theater on Saturday, July 25, at 7 p.m.

About International Soap Box Derby, Inc.

International Soap Box Derby, Inc. is the recognized governing body of Soap Box Derby racing and includes the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby and the Gravity Racing Challenge. The Derby dates back to 1934, when the first All-American race was held in Dayton, Ohio. It has grown to more than 600 races in 120 racing districts throughout the world each year. Children between the ages of 7 and 20 build gravity-powered cars in hopes of qualifying for the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby at Derby Downs in Akron.

The Gravity Racing Challenge is the Derby's school-based Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) initiative, providing educational opportunities for K-12 youth worldwide.  School teams from around the country race in the Gravity Racing Challenge at Derby Downs in May.