FirstEnergyAll-American Soap Box Derby Countdown




Four young volunteers of the Soap Box Derby program have been selected to receive the President’s Youth Volunteer Service Award, which recognizes volunteers under the age of 21 who have made a positive impact on the Soap Box Derby through their leadership on the local, regional and nation levels.

“Our 2022 honorees are long-time Soap Box Derby competitors who are giving back to the program through their support in promoting and staging their local races and by mentoring other participants who are new to racing,” said Mark Gerberich, president and chief executive officer of International Soap Box Derby.


The 2022 honorees are:

RYAN BAUER, Belmont, Massachusetts. Ryan, 17, first raced in the Soap Box Derby in Arlington, Massachusetts in 2014. He won the local Stock Division in 2017, earning his first trip to the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby. He returned as a Rally Stock champion in 2018, and continued racing in Rally competition in 2019 and 2021.

Ryan began volunteering at Arlington racing events in 2017, assisting in the set-up, tear-down and clean-up for races. He sets up all the electronics, speakers, timers and scales for events and is on the local car inspection team. He is a junior director of the Arlington racing organization and helps promote participation in the Soap Box Derby at local events. Ryan was part of a team that refurbished a large shipping container used to store race cars between events.

He also volunteers for the Belmont Food Pantry. He will be a senior at Belmont High School this fall.


CHRISTOPHER KOVACH, Meriden, Connecticut. Chris, 18, began competing in Meriden’s local race in when he was 8—and has been racing ever since. He won the local Meriden Stock Division race in 2014, was local Super Stock champion in 2019 and local Masters champion in 2021. In all the other years since 2015, he has been in the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby as a Rally champion—including this month when he will be a Rally Masters competitor.

As a volunteer over the past six years, Chris helps set up tracks and scales for race events and works to familiarize new racers and their families to the Soap Box Derby program. He helps to promote the race and to recruit new participants.

Chris also is active as a lieutenant in the local fire department’s junior volunteer program and plans to join the volunteer fire department.

He is a 2022 graduate of Pomperaug High School in Southbury and will study fire science in the fall at Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury, Connecticut.


ZOE KUBICK, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Zoe, 18, started racing in the local Akron Soap Box Derby in 2012. She was the local Stock Champ in 2016 and Super Stock champ the following year. She raced as a Rally champion in the All-American in all three divisions—Stock, Super Stock and Masters—a total of five times and finished in second place in the Super Stock world championship in 2018.

Zoe has volunteered for the local Akron Soap Box Derby for the past five years, mentoring racers and assisting their families. She also is a driver in the SuperKids races in which special needs children ride in two-person car driven by an experienced racer.    

She has been a member of the Drama Club at Cuyahoga Falls High School for four years and was a member of student council before graduating this year. She also is active at Grace Church. Zoe will attend the University of Akron this fall to major in psychology.


BRIANNA WALDRON, Roanoke, Virginia. Brianna, 19, has raced in Roanoke’s Soap Box Derby for 12 years and has been to Akron for the world championships seven times. She won the Roanoke local in the Stock Division in 2013, the Super Stock division in 2014 and the Masters Division in 2015. She was a Rally Stock champion in 2012, and a Rally Masters champion three times beginning in 2016. She again will be a Rally Masters champion in the All-American on July 23.

She has been an active volunteer for eight years, advising other drivers racers about competitive driving skills and construction techniques. She also has been a member of the  A-Team in Akron for five years and documenting processes for office operations and other Race Week activities.

She is a 2000 graduate of William Fleming High School in Roanoke, where she currently serves as a volunteer coach for softball and volleyball. She is studying at Grand Canyon University Phoenix and hopes to become a teacher.

The awards will be presented during the awards ceremony in following the 84th FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby on Saturday, July 23.

2022 Ryan Bauer    2022 Christopher Kovach    2022 Zoe Kubick    2022 Brianna Waldron