KEMPNER — The girls are sharpening their spikes, weighing their cars and raring to go this year.

Pine box derby racing is no longer just for the boys.

In fact, last year was the first time girls were allowed to race at the state level championship in Belton, said Bill Minton, a judge at the third Lampasas Association Royal Racers Pinewood Derby race on Saturday at Clear Creek Baptist Church in Kempner.

This year too, there will be a prize for the adult female racing winners, said April Carraher, the event’s coordinator.

“I can’t wait because I’m winning it, especially since I beat Seth the last two years,” she said, referring to master derby-car racer Seth Taylor who hosts the event annually. “We adults do it for bragging rights only. It’s for the kids mainly and this year we have 75 registered racers.”

There were so many boys that two categories were created: one for lads and the other for crusaders. Once girls were invited, Laryn Krei, 8, convinced best friend, Laryla Partin, to join the fun.

“My dad is the one who introduced me,” said Laryn, as she held hands with Laryla, who was nodding.

“I didn’t know about it until Laryn told me and now it’s so cool,” said Laryla, 7.

Makayla Sasser, 14, agreed.

“My dad was the one who convinced me. I didn’t even practice for the race because I just know it’ll be fine,” Makayla said. “I made my own car and I know what it can do.”

The girls were sponsored by the Boys & Girls Club of Copperas Cove, said, Bobby Krei, the club’s branch director.

“We bought 10 to 15 cars and had the kids build them and now they’re ready to race,” he said. “This is also a great opportunity for kids to spend quality time with their families.”

For Pastor Cecil Rice, it goes deeper than that.

“This event has brought our communities together, regardless of church name it doesn’t mater,” said the leader of the Clear Creek Baptist Church. “We are all the same today.”

Eight groups and six churches were represented at the race, including parishioners from Killeen, Cove and Lampasas. Prizes were awarded for best and most unique cars, and best-timed events, including the rain-gutter regatta, the airplane races and the tire-changing station contest.

Corinne Lincoln-Pinheiro | Herald

A journalist by trade, Corinne has written for both the military and civilian populations. She has a Master's in Writing and Bachelor's in English. She is also a military spouse and her family is currently stationed at Fort Hood.

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