2017- 9th Annual Conway EcoFest

Conway EcoFest Cardboard Car Derby

 October 08, 2016  


To promote teamwork at home, work, or play, as well as demonstrate the intrinsic worth of discarded, recyclable and/or reused materials. We have two types of qualified cars: 1)Cardboard, and; 2) recycled materials car (see construction/materials). 

The event is similar to the gravity propelled Soap Box Derbies and cardboard sled events (no engines).

This Derby is not sanctioned by any recognized competition agency and is intended as an enjoyable event for all ages. 

Participation is open to everyone; businesses, organizations, youth groups, families, students, and adults.  

We encourage partnerships with this fun, team-building project. Businesses, civic groups,

professionals or skilled individuals, we encourage teaming with a youth group,

the Boys and Girls Club, etc. 


  •       11 to 12:15 noon:       Check-In and trial runs at south end of park (2283 Robinson).

                    12:10                          Ida Burn Scat Cat Choir

                    12:25                          National Anthem (Ida Burns)

                    12:30                          Derby Begins at south end of park (2283  Robinson)

                      1:30                          Awards Ceremony


Drivers will have an opportunity to introduce their teams, and have one minute to tell about their cars.

AWARDS and Post-Race Instructions:

Awards will be presented at 1:30. All participants will receive  recognition. Come support their efforts!

     Unique trophies will be awarded to at least the first two finishers and top awards in other categories. Ribbons and/or special recognition will be

     presented to the 3rd and 4th place finishers. All entries will receive certificates.  

People’s Choice Award: This award will be decided upon by the viewing audience so come early, enjoy watching the Derby, and VOTE for your favorite car!!

Furthest Distance

Best use of Cardboard

Most Creative use of Recycled Materials

Best Engineered

Other surprise awards   will be presented.

Outstanding partnerships will be recognized

 Drivers should monitor their cars until the awards program.

NOTE: Participants must leave their cars on display- or just circulate them through the festival until 3:30 pm. unless prior approval has been given by organizers. There will be a staging area for Derby cars if you like, but vehicles must be picked up by 5 pm.


Online registration (LOCATED AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE ... if link is not working)

                 DEADLINE:  Wednesday, Sept. 28th

  • On-line registration (www.conwayecofest.com/derby/derbyrules/) is preferred. Signed liability forms and fees (see last page) may be brought to the Derby (south end of Laurel Park, 2310 Robinson) on Sat., October 8, 2016.
  • For a printable copy of the Rules and Regulations, please contact us at   www.conwayecofest@gmail.com  or call 501 472-0901

NOTE: If you have two drivers, please submit an application for each driver. 


  • A signed entry form (application) and liability waiver is required from all entrants/drivers (last page of this document). If you have applied online, you may just bring the form and fee with you to the EcoFest Derby. Minors must have a parent or guardian sign the entry form/liability release, and have a responsible adult in attendance; All drivers participate at their own risk. 
  • FEES: $10.00 

Fee waivers are available (see registration form).

We are seeking sponsors for school cars, either one sponsor per school or a sponsor for all schools.

If you are a school, you may want to find a local sponsor/partner. If you want a partner/sponsor to help you, please let us know when you apply that you would like to be matched with a sponsor if available. 

NOTE: If you are entering two drivers for the same car, please submit two applications.




Drivers must be at least seven years old;

Drivers will be required to demonstrate an ability to control the car (see CHECK-IN RULES below)

Each car can have up to 2 drivers. Each driver must submit an application/liability release & fee.

Each driver is guaranteed a minimum of 2 competitive runs.

Each driver will be allowed at least one practice run (see Test Run section below for pre-race tests);

All drivers must wear protective gear: Safety glasses, motorcycle, skateboard, or bicycle helmet, long pants, and a long-sleeve shirt. Protective pads are recommended but not mandatory.

No reckless driving is permitted;

  • Good sportsmanship is required by drivers and support team.



DAY OF RACE :   October 8, 2016    TIMELINE:  Check-in begins at 11        Derby begins at 12:30  Awards at 1:30


Time:   11 am to 12:15  Check in at south parking lot of Laurel Park, 2310 Robinson. Verify registration & pay fee if applicable.

        Safety Inspection

            Make sure your car is inspected by the Derby Marshalls who will verify that the car meets the required dimensions/structure/stability

and drivers can operate the vehicle (can steer and stop the vehicle quickly).

Dr. Todd Tinsley, has offered to consult or make a personal visit with teams regarding safety and qualifying cars prior to the event in order to avoid any misunderstanding (and disappointed kids!). If in doubt of what qualifies, please contact him at   todd.tinsley@gmail.com


Derby Begins at noon:   Ida Burns, "Scat Cats" choir will open the derby with the national anthem; duration of derby depends on number of entrants.

Awards ceremony: 1:30 pm - this will be held near the Derby area 

Participants must leave their cars on display, or circulate them through the festival until 4pm. All cars must be removed by 5 p.m.

The Race Committee is comprised of at least three volunteers who will determine if entries meet the requirements and intent of the Conway EcoFest’s Cardboard/Recycled Car Derby guidelines. All decisions made by the “Derby Marshals” are final.

    - Drivers must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the “Race Committee/Derby Marshals” that the braking and steering systems are functional, the car meets the required dimensions/structure, and that the driver can operate the car.

    - Practice runs; Time  11 to 12:15


Watch for upcoming building TIPS on our Web site, www.conwayecofest.com.

Check back often!

 Test Runs: The Derby Ramp will be set up at Helton's Wrecker and Repair Service, 701 So. Harkrider, on Saturday, Sept. 26 from 9 a.m. to noon for anyone interested in conducting a test run to check the clearance or stability of their vehicle before race day. THIS IS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY!

For more information regarding the test runs please contact Bill Helton at 501-327-7681.

General questions  or questions about construction should be directed to conwayecofest@gmail.com


Chassis and Propulsion:

  1. Absolutely no drive power mechanisms. Gravity propulsion only
  2. Any and all ballast (weight) must be securely fastened to the car.
  3. No go-cart chassis, wheelchairs, bicycles or skateboards. The EcoFest’s “Race Committee/Derby Marshals” will rule on any questionable entries.
  4. The drivers must be stably seated in the driving position to adequately control the vehicle, and roll/exit vehicle safely/have adequate protection should a crash occur; provide some way for driver to brace their feet, back, and or side provide stability when car transitions from  ramp to pavement. 
  5. SPECS: Size Requirements:

NOTE: The launching ramp is 21’ long (2 feet longer than previous years), and will be placed at an angle of approximately 45 degrees for a couple of minutes when setting in place – please keep this, and the transition from ramp to pavement, in mind when designing your vehicle.

SELF RISK ASSESSMENTS: may include asking yourself, will the car tip when I transition off ramp to pavement? Too tall cars will tip; If I crash, will I be cut (sharp edges/corners are not permitted for safety reasons) or will I fall out? How can I keep control of the car? ;  How secure and sturdy is my car? Make sure all parts of the car are securely fastened; floorboards, axles and wheels, ballast; etc.

  • Length: Cars must not exceed 84 inches in length; the length of the wheelbase must be a minimum of 60 inches. IMPORTANT: The car body should not protrude more than 2” past the front tires, and not more than 4" past the back tires in order safely clear the transition ramps. Winners will be based on where the front axle stops.
  • Width: The maximum width of the car and the wheelbase (exterior of wheel-to-wheel) must not exceed 32 inches, and the minimum width of the wheelbase must not fall below 28 inches. 



The vehicle must be made of all cardboard with the exception of some metal or wood used for some of the major components such as the steering, braking systems, axles and/or wheel mounts).  Other recycled materials may be used for decorations only. Wood may be used for the floorboard IF necessary for stability (but check out our Website for ways strengthen and cut cardboard for added strength).  The truer the vehicle is to the intent of the Cardboard Cars the better ... however, ALWAYS PUT SAFETY FIRST!


b)   ALL OTHER DERBY CARS:          

The vehicle must be made of all scrap/reused/recycled items (cardboard, paper, plastic, wood, non-sharp metal- NO fiberglass).  The truer the vehicle is to the intent of the Derby cars (scrap/reused/ recycled items) the better, however,  ALWAYS PUT SAFETY FIRST!


            - A floppy chassis or a clearly tippy car is not safe and will not meet criteria to safely compete. Check out ways to strengthen cardboard (wood glue is recommended by many in the industry).

           - NO cars with DANGEROUS SHARP EDGES will be permitted to run.

           - A self risk-assessment is highly recommended as the Conway EcoFest, associated agents, nor volunteers cannot be responsible for injuries.

           - TIP: bring a repair "Car Medic" kit with  you ... you just never know!


7.   Steering System: Drivers will need to demonstrate that ability to safely steer the vehicle.

 Systems can be made from a pivotal axle and rope, or a mechanical steering system with steering wheel…or anything that allows you to safely steer the vehicle!

8.   Wheels: Four wheels are required. Any type not exceeding 12” in diameter may be used, however, be sure   to consider ramp clearance, and the required ability to stop quickly. Reused tires off anything is ok. A limited supply of Free, 10.5” plastic wheels are available by calling Debbie at 501 472-0901 if needed.

9.    Axles: The rear axle should be built to withstand holding your vehicle (by the axle) at a 45-degree angle on the ramp (for a few minutes) while preparing for the race. (TIP: if using nuts to hold the wheels on, locking nuts or the equivelent must be used).

10.  Braking systems: All vehicles must have an adequate braking system. Drivers will need to  

 demonstrate the ability to safely & quickly stop the car in order to qualify & participate in the derby.

11.  The monetary outlay (if any) to construct these vehicles should be very minimal because

scrap/recycled/reused materials are required.

12.   No fiberglass, enamel paint, or compounds that are harmful to the environment should be used. Paper tape works well.

13.  All vehicles must be either reused or recycled when its useful life is over. Owners are on the honor system and will be responsible for doing so. 


NOTE:  If you need strong cardboard or cores but can’t find any appropriate scrap paper/cardboard, you may try Sandy at Age Industries; Jonathan at A & B Reprograhics has thick cardboard tubes; or perhaps one of the local mills/industries/businesses to pick some up.

Tips for cutting cardboard tubes, making strong corners, and general construction tips for working with cardboard, can be found on our Web site, www.ConwayEcoFest.com.  Also, watch for tips for making a simple rope steering mechanism/axie coming soon if needed.  

      Adult supervision is recommended.  


General Info.

  • Good Sportsmanship is a given, but is required from participants, support team, and spectators.
  • The event is intended as enjoyment for all and is not sanctioned by any recognized

competition agency.

Unsportsmanlike behavior will not be tolerated.


Personal safety of all drivers and spectators, is of the utmost importance, and all this can all be done                                                                             while having fun and learning along with your teammates !!


  •  Timeframes: 
  •        11 to 12:15 noon:       Check-In and trial runs at south end of park (off Robinson).

                    12:10                          Ida Burn Scat Cat Choir

                    12:25                          National Anthem (Ida Burns)

                    12:30                          Derby Begins at south end of park (off Robinson)

                      1:30                          Awards Ceremony




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