“The most expensive things are going to be your wheels,” said Waite Park neighborhood resident Mary Farnham, coaching a group of parents and kids on making a push cart for the upcoming Waite Park races.
In its third year, the push cart derby requires a team of two pushers and a driver, racing on level ground, with one complete turn. There’s no limit to how many can work on constructing it, and there are prizes for first ($200), second ($100), third (“Waite Park swag”—merchant coupons and trinkets) and “most creative” ($100).
Residents of all Northeast neighborhoods are welcome to race. Those living in Waite Park (boundaries 37th Avenue Northeast, Stinson Boulevard, Saint Anthony Parkway, Central Avenue NE) have the added incentive of an up-to-$100 rebate. They need to get everyone on their block to sign on in support, and submit their expense receipts with their application.
Waite Park Push Cart Derby
Sat., Sept. 10
Safety checks start at 11 a.m., then qualifying heats. Hang around after the Derby for food, music and games for the kids.
Be the Match will be there with information and help people sign up for the National Bone Marrow Registry.
“The wheels that spin are on the back, that makes it easier to steer,” Farnham said. “You don’t have to brake, it’s not a soap box derby,” she explained. “Soap box” racing would require the driver to have steering and braking mechanisms, the driver races down a hill. With push carts, the pushers have to rotate the cart and driver through that turn, otherwise there’s no steering.
What about the body of the cart? The petite yellow cart that Farnham’s been bringing around started as an overturned end table to which she added sides, a seat, and wheels. Bywood East residents (where she works) decorated it with stickers. “They can be made from a grocery type cart. Now, don’t go out stealing a shopping cart.” Farnham explained that often stores will discard carts, or one can look on Craigslist for parts.
“If you’re on a limited budget, look at something else you need, and modify it,” for example, a cart for gardening. “Network for bits and pieces.” She said Harbor Freight has good coupons, and recommended Ax-Man Surplus in Fridley.
Then, “practice before the event, practice that turn.” Consult the rules and entry form before designing your cart, at www.waiteparkneighborhood.org. Questions? Call Mary Farnham: 612-788-9757 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And why is Waite Park so into push cart races? They want a “claim to fame like a certain neighborhood that sponsors the Hot Dish Revolution.”
In San Antonio, Texas, a bunch of artists started a similar event in a crime ridden park, “it’s actually reduced the crime rate,” Mary Farnham said. On line, search for Dignowity Hill Push Cart.