Elbow Cay’s popular Box Cart Derby took place on November 28. The races take place on Big Hill on the road south of Hope Town. For the fifth year in a row, Otis Christian Wilhoyte took the overall prize.
This popular event began in 1996 by Patrick Stewart of Cracker P’s on Lubbers Quarter. “Volunteers are what make this thing go,” said Stafford Patterson. “They handle the general organization and permitting, track preparation and cleanup. They move bleachers and port-o-potties, set up tables and grills, prepare and sell food and beverages, clean up, register cart entries and promote shirt sales.” As many as 40 residents, second homeowners and visitors eagerly assist with the fund-raising event.
Estimates of 300 spectators are probably on the low side as people came and left throughout the event. Bleachers for about 75 were a new addition this year.
Funds raised from food, drink and t-shirt sales will benefit the Methodist Community Hall under construction behind the Methodist Mission House in Hope Town.
Entrants are scored on performance in three categories. The downhill speed trials pairs two at a time allowing similarly competitive carts to race against each other. Single carts attempt the slalom, zig-zagging in and out of the traffic cones as they run down the straight course. This is often the down-fall of marginally constructed carts as they pick up speed and attempt to maintain stability while the cart’s chassis does its best to either hold together or stay upright around the markers. A third category is showmanship and has little to do with the actual races but relates to costumes, exotic cart construction, accessories and decoration.
Accumulated scores from three categories determine the overall winner. Adults and juniors race separately under local rules with an emphasis on safety.
Kits for junior beginner carts were available to the public and a construction clinic was held with school children. Individual businesses were advertised with sharp looking banners alongside the racecourse.
This year’s Derby saw a total of 13 Junior entrants, age 9 – 14, being a 50 percent increase over last year due to the introduction of a kit for beginners. Seniors, age 15 and up, had nine entries which was one less than last year.