Digital Access

Digital Access
Access from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Mail Delivery

Mail Delivery
We’ve got you covered! Get the best in local news, sports, community events, with focus on what’s coming up for the weekend. Weekly packages.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Choose your news! Select the text alerts you want to receive: breaking news, weather, and more.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
Have our latest news, sports and obituaries emailed directly to you Monday through Friday so you can keep up with what's happening in Morris and Grundy County.

Fast cars, good times

Annual crackerbox derby keeps bringing kids back for more

Wade Tondini, 8, of Mazon, competes in the Crackerbox Derby Saturday morning at Goold Park in Morris. It was Tondini's second year competing in the derby.
Wade Tondini, 8, of Mazon, competes in the Crackerbox Derby Saturday morning at Goold Park in Morris. It was Tondini's second year competing in the derby.

This year's Crackerbox Derby was 7-year-old Abby Hougas' first time driving... and she's already in for next year.

"That was so fun!" she screamed as she ran up Goold Park's hill to hug her grandmother. Hougas drove a pink car complete with eye lashes and lips.

Corn Festival 's annual Crackerbox Derby is sponsored by Scout Troop 469. The derby has five classes that compete for times. Each driver drives down the Goold Park hill twice and whomever has the best combined time in each category wins.

This year, 64 cars participated in the derby. The derby ran a little differently, said Ken Buck with Troop 469. For each category, all the drivers did their first runs, and then after all the drivers went, they went back up the hill for their second runs. In previous years, the drivers would do their first and second runs in a row.

For the last two years, the derby has begun with the Crate Class, which are vehicles built by the troop for the "Littles" of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Will and Grundy Counties to race.

This year, about 15 "Littles" participated.

"They love it. They have a ton of fun," said Sam Nantz, special events coordinator with BBBS.

"Little" Dakota was hoping he'd make it down the hill in 10 seconds, but on his first try he did 15.94 seconds. Last year, he crashed, so this year he wasn't afraid of that happening, since he knew what to expect.

"It was great," he said.

His "Big," Sheree Peters of Morris, said the event is not only fun for the "Littles," but good for them.

"For my Little, it builds confidence. It gets him out in social situations and helps him learn a bit about competition and about winning and losing," she said.

BBBS and the Boy Scout troop work together to have the "Littles" participate. The "Littles" get to drive their own cars, which are sponsored by local businesses, and they get prizes.

"It's a wonderful thing they provide," said Peters.

For the rest of the categories, the drivers and their families make their own cars. There were cars painted in themes such as the Cubs or the Morris Redskins, and cars in different shapes, such as a pineapple.

Zack, 9 and Michael Hougas, 7, were racing for the first time Saturday. But their cars were not first-timers.

"(The cars) haven't raced since 1994," said their father, Joe Hougas. He had built the cars for his nephews several years ago and brought them out of retirement for his boys.

Inside the cars, the race times of his nephews were recorded.

"In 1994, it says 17.01 seconds and seventh place. So we're hoping to beat that," said Joe Hougas.

Crackerbox Derby Results:

Derby Class:

First place: Samantha Tondini 11.87 seconds

Second place: Dylan Sanches 11.88 seconds

Third place: Nolan Washburn 12.01 seconds

Fourth place: Dustin Kernica 12.05 seconds

Fifth place: Lucas Friant 12.08 seconds

Sixth place: Logan Tondini 12.08 seconds

Open class:

First place: Lucas Friant 12.94 seconds

Second place: Brendan Pierce 13.12 seconds

Third place: Jared Schneider 13.23 seconds

Fourth place: Justin Hemmersbach 13.28 seconds

Fifth place: Kayla Hougas 13.84 seconds

Sixth place: Brice Easton 13.87 seconds

Plastic Class:

First place: Logan Tondini 11.94 seconds

Second place: Steve McGath 11.97 seconds

Third place: Wade Tondini 12.23 seconds

Fourth place: Jack Guldenbeaker 12.71 seconds

Fifth place: Tony Pethel 14.34 seconds

Precision Class:

First place: Brendan Pierce  11.81 seconds

Second place: Wade Tondini 11.93 seconds

Third place: Scott Dale 12.13

Fourth place: Andrew Matheson 12.22

Fifth place: Dylan Jenkins 12.72

Sixth place: Kenny Onldenbecker 12.95

Loading more