WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – Friends and family of 60 children, from ages eight to seventeen, have lined Constitution Avenue for the 2013 running of the Greater Washington Soap Box Derby Saturday afternoon.

Children will be roaring down Capitol Hill in their homemade Derby cars between New Jersey and Louisiana Avenues, beginning at 9:30 a.m., until champions for the Stock, Super Stock and Masters classes are crowned around 5:30 p.m.

The competition may be young, but it’s fierce; best exemplified by the motto displayed atop the Derby’s Facebook page:

“Some hills are higher, some hills are longer, some are faster; but we race on THE most powerful hill in the world, Capitol Hill!”

While new competitors are welcome, many returning speedsters have been honing their craft for years, and gotten it down to a science.

“We have changed some things, like we polished up the axles, cut some of the foam off, added weights,” one spirited competitor said.

But once they reach the finish line, what really matters is the bonding experience between family members, like so many fathers and sons shared in preparation for this event.

“We had a good time,” said one proud poppa, who entered his son for the first time this year. “We spent some quality time together, putting the car together, doing the weigh-in, and decorating it, coming up with our own numbers and decals and compounding the car.”

This time-honored tradition is government-sanctioned, and has withstood the test of time, along with advancements in technology, which seems to mutate everything else from their former self.

For the 70th straight year, children will hop in a derby car they personally handcrafted from raw materials – a box basically made of plastic, wood, some foam and four wheels – then race down The Hill to glory.

Photos: 2013 Greater Washington Soap Box Derby

Follow Heather Curtis and WNEW on Twitter.


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