by GEOFF FOX
Hancock Parks and Recreation will hold their Pumpkin Derby on Sunday, October 18, at 2 p.m. at the Hancock Veterans Memorial Library with check-in between 12 p.m. and 1:45 p.m. No registrations are permitted after 1:45 p.m.
The first Pumpkin Derby was held last year during the first Harvest Fest with 25 entries.
There will be a limited supply of kits available for pickup at the Hancock Community Center on October 6 and October 12 from 5:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. There is a small cost for the kits.
Those kits include four wheels, two axles and necessary hardware.
There will be prizes for the top three fastest and top three best decorated pumpkins.
There are a few derby race regulations.
Pumpkin racers will race in heats of three down the track, no penalty for pumpkin racers bumping into each other, and race officials will determine a winner. Organizers ask to not argue with race officials.
Racers will be inspected at check-in and due to limited space, only one pumpkin racer entry per person.
The Pumpkin Inspector will inspect all pumpkins at the time of registration. Once the racer has passed inspection, it will receive a number that must clearly displayed on the racer.
Following a passing of inspection, racers may not be modified. It will be put on display until the decoration and design contest has been judged.
Following judging, owners are responsible for collecting their pumpkin racer and reporting to the start of their individual heat, as determined by race officials.
There are some rules for the racers.
Axels must be attached to or go through the pumpkin, however at least one axle must pierce or go directly into the pumpkin. Any number of axles may be used.
More information on axels can be found on the Parks and Recreation Facebook page.
Any size wheels are acceptable as long as the racer is not wider than 18 inches.
Pumpkins can only be powered by gravity on the track. No outside propellers, such as a fan or motor; pyrotechnics like rockets or fireworks; or remote control technology are permitted.
The completed pumpkin racer must be a maximum of 18 inches wide and a maximum of 20 inches long and may not interfere with other racers at the starting gate. Interference during the race, however, is part of racing.
Organizers do offer those who want to race some advice.
A heavier or bigger pumpkin racer is not a fast racer and rarely does the biggest win.
The best way to build a fast racer is to make sure the axels are parallel so it will roll straight down the track.
Many competitors are eliminated because their pumpkin racer veers to the side before crossing the finish line, so check to make sure they are parallel before every heat.
Make sure all the wheels spin freely.
Organizers recommend using at the very least 2.5-inch wheels because if the wheels are too small, the racer won’t go very far.
Be sure the pumpkin racer has enough clearance as the race takes place on a street with bumps and dips. Be sure the racer is high enough to clear them.
Organizers said there should be plenty of good parts around the house or in the garage.
They said you can take wheels off bikes, strollers, lawn mowers, or even use a combination of wheel types for the racer.
Any good hardware store should be able to assist with axles and even give you some tips.
Most importantly, have fun making the pumpkin racer by picking a theme and being creative.
Often, the crowd favorites are the most fun and creative ones. If you can’t win, then lose with style.