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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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SOAP BOX DERBY. The first Soap Box Derby in Dubuque was held on July 8, 1962. Sponsored by BIRD CHEVROLET and the Dubuque Junior Chamber of Commerce, the event was scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m. on North Grandview behind the athletic field at DUBUQUE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL. Twenty-six boys ranging in age from 11 to 15 were involved in the race to win first place and a $500 Savings Bond and a chance to compete in the All-American Soap Box Derby on August 1-4 in Akron, Ohio. The second place racer received a $100 Savings Bond and the third place received a $50 bond. Awards were also given for the best constructed racer, best design, best finish, and best upholstery. (1)

Boys were given a chance to try out the race area on July 5th. After a final inspection, the cars were impounded by derby officials until the day of the race. Cars were checked to see that they complied with the strict specifications outlined by the All-American Soap Box Derby Corporation. Boys were to receive no help other than advice from their parents on the construction of their cars. (2)

The race area ranged from N. Grandview and Clarke Drive to a block past Rosedale. Regular traffic on those streets and any roads entering the area were blocked during the competition. (3)

At the end of Derby Day in Dubuque, contestants and their parents, derby officials and judges could attend a banquet at EAGLE POINT PARK. (4)

The winner of the first event was Gregg Walterick. (5)



1. "Derby Day Proclaimed by Mayor," Telegraph Herald, July 5, 1962, Derby Day Supplement, p. 9

2. Ibid. p, 10

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid.

5. "Gregg Walterick Wins City's Soap Box Derby," Telegraph Herald, July 9, 1962, p. 1