Planning is underway for the city’s second Cardboard Car Derby, set to be held during the second annual EcoFest on Sept. 11 at Laurel Park.

The event is being coordinated in part this year by the Conway Young Professionals Association.

According to EcoFest organizer Debbie Plopper, the derby is similar to the gravity-propelled soap box derbies and cardboard sled races, and serves to not only demonstrate the worth of discarded or reused materials, but also to encourage teamwork among area residents, businesses and organizations.

“The derby is divided into youth and adult divisions and is open to individuals, youth groups, businesses --— it isn’t sanctioned by any competition agency,” Plopper said. “It’s really just a great way for people of all ages to work together and be creative with recycled materials.”

Plopper said though last year’s derby also focused on alternative fueling methods, due to an increase in insurance rates, the competition this year will be restricted to gravity-propelled cardboard vehicles only.

Other requirement specifications include adequate braking systems on all vehicles and the use of paper products on all vehicle parts, except for the steering and braking systems, wheels and wheel mounts.

Strong cardboard cores, appropriate cardboard materials and a limited number of free wheels are available for all nonprofit participants courtesy of International Paper, and can be obtained by contacting Dan Gladwin by e-mail at

Plopper said the monetary cost to construct the vehicles should be minimal because the use of recycled and reused materials are encouraged.

“It really shouldn’t cost anyone over $50 to participate,” Plopper said.

Plopper said the event would be judged in the categories of furthest distance, fastest time, most creative use of recycled materials and best Conway spirit by two local university physics professors.

A people’s choice award will also be presented.

The deadline to register for the event is Sept. 6, and entry fees are $15 per vehicle.

To volunteer or register for the event, or for a list of complete rules and regulations and construction tips, visit

(Staff writer Megan Reynolds can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at (501)505-1277. To comment on this story and others, visit