For the most part, Oak Lawn is pretty flat. But near 97th Street and Mayfield Avenue, there's an ever-so-slight hill that runs for nearly half a block. While it may not be Mount Everest, it's the perfect place for an afternoon soapbox race, Cub Scout Pack 3619 den leader Jerry Lencki said.
"You can go about 15 mph on this hill," he said. "Once you get over the hump, you can really get going. We have a great day out of it, and it's a lot of fun."
On Saturday, more than 60 children traded paint and burned rubber during the 16th annual Oak Lawn Cub Scouts Soap Box Derby, which took place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and included Scouts from more than a half-dozen packs in the Arrowhead District. The double-elimination competition had the children race two at a time from the top of the hill for first-, second- and third-place trophies using their homemade wooden cars.
"It's a pretty simple construction," he said. "You use two-by-fours, and you can pretty much use any type of wheel. There's roller-skate wheels, buggy wheels, wheelchair wheels, anything you can scrape together."
As the only real restrictions on construction were a set length and width, some children got creative and painted their box cars with brilliant colors and graphics.
"This gives them a sense of competition and how to have fun doing it," said Lencki. "Healthy competition is good for kids. They may lose the race, but that's just how it is. It's good that they learn that everyone can't win."