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Pope Competes in Annual Boxcar Derby

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Mindy Bloem
  • 43rd Airlift Wing, Public Affairs
Ten competitors, representing various Pope squadrons, raced down Reilly Street in hand-crafted boxcars in an attempt to win the annual Pope Box Derby Aug. 6. 

The rules were simple: participating squadrons were to build a boxcar weighing no more than 100 pounds, use a little bit of ingenuity and creativity and hope their car had "the stuff" to win the derby. 

Before the race, some of Pope's past prize-winning cars were on display for the spectators. 

The team to beat was the 2nd Airlift Squadron's Aerospace Ground Equipment shop, the winners for the last two years running. Other various hopefuls showed up for the chance to take the title from them. 

"The best reason to come out is to beat the competition," said Senior Airman Thomas Carrell, 43rd Operations Support Squadron, who was a first-time racer in the 
competition. "My strategy is just to go straight and fast." 

Adding to the day's frivolity were all of the squadron-specific designs.
The 43rd Logistics Readiness Squadron and 43rd OSS both sported hood ornaments: a cobra and a panther respectively. The 43rd Medical Group used a wheelchair for the race, while the 43rd Security Forces Squadron's car had police lights for thematic flair. 

For many, this tradition was just what was needed to boost morale and inspire innovation. 

"My favorite part is being able to design the car," said Senior Airman Brittany Moses, 43rd LRS. "I like the creativity and the originality of it. It's a lot of fun." 

Prior to starting, competitors lined their boxcars on the top of the hill where Joe Renteria, 43rd Securtiy Forces Squadron, offered this advice: "The main thing is to come out here and have fun." 

The squadrons competed in a double-elimination style tournament, and in the end, the 2nd AS' AGE shop, took first place for the third year in a row. 

Second place went to the 440th Maintenance Squadron's AGE shop, and the 43rd Civil Engineer Squadron walked away with third place. All of the winners were awarded Force Support Squadron bucks in addition to bragging rights. 

Other winners included 43rd SFS for Best Theme, 3rd Aerial Port Squadron for Best Design, and 43rd Medical Operations Squadron for Best "Hooptie."