Registrations are open for the 2024 Okotoks Rotary Club Soapbox Derby, and they're filling up quickly.

The derby is a long-running summer staple in Okotoks and has been running for 34 years.

Racers rocket down the hill on Crystal Ridge Drive in custom-made karts, with RCMP officers on hand with speedometres to clock the fastest racers. Medals and trophies are then awarded to the young drivers. 

According to an update from the Okotoks Rotary Club's Facebook post, they're already 75 per cent full as of yesterday (April 3).

Youth Director Trish Henderson says the event is more popular than ever.

"This is the fastest they've ever sold, this year... The number of entries we have right now, this is outstanding."

For those who are new to the derby, karts must be made using an official chassis kit. It's $145 to buy a chassis kit and registration, and $80 for registration alone for those who already have a kit or a kart.

Kids from ages 8-14 can register, and proceeds from the event fund local Rotatry Club youth programs and events.

Henderson says racers are welcome to get creative when customizing their karts, but there are some restrictions.

"Part of the soapbox derby experience is building the kart with your family or friends... You can really design anything you want, but it has to be no more than six feet long, it has to be able to clear the bottom of the ramps... They can make their own steering wheel but they need to use the wheels and steering column that are provided in the kit, all the karts need to have the same wheels on them."

A new event is being held during the leadup to this year's derby; a collaboration with longtime soapbox derby supporter, Fountain Tire Okotoks.

"This is really the first year we've ever done this at Fountain Tire. They're always our pit crew on the day of the event, and the safety inspection is always at Fountain Tire. On April 13 they are going to have an information session for anybody new to building the kits. It'll be from 2-4 p.m.," says Henderson.

Other contributors to the event include the Okotoks Dawgs, who help stop the karts at the bottom of the hill and lift the karts onto the ramps, and Okotoks Home Hardware and Building Centre, who are providing the plywood for this year's kits.

Whether you're a racer or a spectator, Henderson encourages everyone to stop by the derby on June 1.

"Everybody loves it, we have kids that come back year after year."

You can register on the Okotoks Rotary Club website.