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Local racers qualify for National Super Kids Classic

7/11/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

Shown celebrating their wins with their co-pilots at the Greater Ohio Area Super Kids Classic race, which took place June 1, are, from left, Ashley Sklack, Joseph Korane, Alexis Sklack and John Krzysik.
SOUTH AKRON — When the National Super Kids Classic takes place July 26, four local racers will be among those trying to take home the top prize.

The race will include John Krzysik and Joseph Korane from Hudson, David Slusser from Cuyahoga Falls and David Wilt from Springfield.

Amanda Robinson, registration coordinator for the Greater Ohio Area Super Kids, said the National Super Kids Classic is a fun way for children who wouldn’t otherwise be able to take part in the All-American Soap Box Derby to get the chance to race.

“It’s a Soap Box Derby race for children with disabilities,” she said. “The race features dual-seat cars. Each car has a co-pilot, who we recruit from the All-American race, and they drive the car down the hill and pull the brake. That way, the child with the disability can ride along with them down the hill. All the kids are between the ages of 7 and 18. The two kids in each car are matched up so that almost all of the cars have an even weight. So the smaller kids, the 7- and 8-year-olds, are with the 18-year-olds and the older kids with disabilities are with the younger kids. That way, it’s a more even race.”

Each race will feature two cars competing against each other, Robinson said.

“It’s a Super Kid with a co-pilot vs. a Super Kid with a co-pilot. They start at the top of the hill and once they pass the finish line, a winner will be announced,” she explained. “At the bottom of the hill, someone will pull the child out and they will get chauffeured back up to the top of the hill. It’s a double-elimination event.”

Robinson said the National Super Kids Classic, which will take place at Derby Downs and will start at 11 a.m., is free to attend for spectators.

Local racers who will compete in the National Super Kids Classic July 26 at Derby Downs include, from left, John Krzysik, David Slusser, Joseph Korane and David Wilt.
Photos: Bill Smith
“This event is huge,” she said. “There will be a lot of people — there will be vendors, there will be sponsors. It’s held when they have the All-American race, but it’s just on a different day. It’s a big, big event. The kids love to have people cheering them on and having people in the stands. It’s a great event for families. Little kids love to watch the cars race down the hill.”

During the race, Wilt will be looking to continue his success of a year ago.

“He won last year’s national race and he gets a seat to defend his title, which is awesome,” Robinson stated.

The other three local racers qualified for this year’s event during last month’s Greater Ohio Area Super Kids Classic at Derby Downs, where Krzysik finished first place, and Korane and Slusser finished in second and third, respectively.

According to Robinson, the Greater Ohio Area Super Kids Classic, which took place June 1, is in its 32nd year.

“Our event in Akron was the first one,” she said. “It has spread across the country and now there are 10 to 15 races. What happens is that the top three from each race get to go to the National Super Kids Classic in Akron and their trips are paid for by the organizations that sponsor those races.”

Robinson said the Greater Ohio Area Super Kids Classic is growing every year.

“We had 35 Super Kids race this year,” she said. “Last year, we had 25 kids. We’re getting more and more attention each year, and we’re still working on getting even more people and more organizations involved in the event.”

This year’s race turned out even better than expected, Robinson said.

“That day, there was an 80 percent chance of rain, but it turned out to be sunny all day so we had a really good day,” she said. “The kids all had a fun time and it was a really smooth race.”

Robinson said the event relies on the generosity of sponsors and volunteers.

“Everything is provided free of charge for the racers because of our generous sponsors,” she said. “This year’s race sponsor was the Allen family, in memory of John Allen. Another sponsor we’d like to recognize is the Greater Akron Motorcycle Club. Not only do they help on race day at the bottom of the hill getting the kids out of the cars, they also sponsor a picnic the day after the race for everyone to relax and enjoy. It was a great day to make new friends and spend time together. Another big thank you goes out to Bill Smith of Smith’s Snapshots in Springfield for taking photos of race day, the picnic and the awards banquet.”

This year’s awards banquet took place June 12, where all of the Super Kids were awarded trophies. Dylan Whitted, of Newton Falls, received the Krystle Frye award (Super Kid of the Year) and Denise McCoy, of Ravenna, won the Volunteer of the Year award.

Next year’s Greater Ohio Area Super Kids Classic will take place on the first Saturday in June, and Robinson said preparations are under way to keep improving the event. In addition, she added, the Greater Ohio Area Super Kids sponsor other events throughout the year.

“Last year, we took the kids on a train ride in the Cuyahoga Valley and we threw a Christmas party for them, so it’s not just a once-a-year thing,” she said. “We actually spend time with them throughout the year.”

Robinson said the Greater Ohio Area Super Kids Classic is for children ages 7 to 18 years old who “couldn’t race in the All-American.”

“Kids who qualify for our race are kids who couldn’t pull the brakes or can’t focus enough, like kids with autism,” she explained. “We’ve had blind kids go down, we’ve had kids with cancer go down, we have kids in wheel chairs. They’re all available for our race and our special events.”

For parents who would like to get their kids involved with the Greater Ohio Area Super Kids Classic, Robinson said they just need to join the organization’s mailing list.

“We have a board and once they are on the mailing list, they’ll get all of the information,” she said.

To sign up for the mailing list, or for more information about the Super Kids Classic events, go to www.SuperKidsOhio.org or www.facebook.com/greaterohioareasuperkids.

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