Resident sets Clovis record at Akron derby

Courtesy photo Daulton Hatley of Clovis reached the third round of the All-American Soap Box Derby on July 24 in Akron, Ohio, which is the farthest any youth from Clovis has reached in the international competition.

Liliana Castillo

When Clovis’ Daulton Hatley made it into the third round at the All-American Soap Box Derby on July 24, he set a record as the Clovis racer to advance the farthest in the race.

The Clovis Soap Box Derby, sponsored by the Clovis Rotary Club, began in 2002 when the club was looking to be involved in a youth event.

Hatley won first place at the local race June 19 and won a trip to the international competition in Akron, Ohio. He was eliminated in the third round after making it into the Top 18.

“It was different,” Hatley said of the larger race. “The hill was a lot steeper than the one here.”

Karrie Hatley, his mother, said they were surprised at the number of racers. Larry Erwin, director of the local race, said there were 800 racers at the event, 200 in Daulton Hatley’s super stock class.

Overall, Daulton Hatley raced down the hill five times including two practice runs and three races. Three racers run at a time and two racers are eliminated each round. Daulton Hatley was one of the eliminated after his third race.

Erwin said the Clovis race was one of the smallest in the country, having the minimum 15 racers.

“For Daulton to be able to beat some of the big guys, that’s a big thing,” Erwin said.

Erwin is hoping Daulton Hatley’s success will help expand the Clovis race.

Karrie Hatley said everyone was friendly and helped the family, who had never participated in a soap box derby until Daulton was asked to join to fill an empty spot a week before the race.

“Usually with sports people are very competitive,” she said. “Everyone was willing to lend a helping hand or a tool.”

Daulton Hatley said the race was fun but also enjoyed the vacationing his family got to do on the way there and back. The family went to an amusement park, described by Daulton as “just so big,” visited the St. Louis Arch, the Professional Football Hall of Fame, and attended a minor league baseball game.

The family can’t usually get away for a summer vacation because Karrie Hatley teaches but summer is the busiest time for her husband’s carpet cleaning business.

“It was a once in a lifetime experience for our family,” Karrie Hatley said. “We saw so many things.”

Daulton can’t race again in the super stock class after his win but Erwin is hoping to start a masters division combined with Amarillo residents.

Erwin said masters are for youth 10 to 19 years old and the cars are faster and more difficult to build.