Free cars for Dogwood Daze soapbox derby racers

Richard DuPertuis
Siblings Andrew O'Brien, Joshua Redman and Alyssa Redman check out car parts in the Dunsmuir City Park parking lot Saturday, April 28 during the first of three weekly soapbox derby racer building workshops. The Dunsmuir Chamber of Commerce Dogwood Daze soapbox derby is scheduled for Memorial Day Weekend.

Dunsmuir kids weren't left on their own after the Chamber of Commerce added a soapbox derby to its list of events for this year's Dogwood Daze. A local carpenter set up a free car clinic in the City Park parking lot Saturday to help young racers build their cars.

Master carpenter Dave “Big Dave” Keisler said his team measured, cut and delivered to entrants enough wood to build 41 cars. Also pitching in were fellow carpenters Robert Rhodes and Paul Lunsford.

This was the first of three Saturdays comprising the clinic. “I'll be helping the kids build cars all those weekends. And on the fourth we race,” declared Keisler.

He said this Saturday they will attach the axles to the bodies. “The wheels come last,” he said of the third clinic. “That way I don't have kids rolling all over town before the race.”

Keisler, who relocated to the area from San Diego about two years ago, said he has never done something like this before. “I've been a master carpenter,” he said. “I never had the time.” He said he moved up here for the trout and the community. “I just want to be a part of it all, you know?”

“Big Dave” Keisler, right, wants to make sure Dunsmuir kids have a shot at the soapbox derby, a new Dogwood Daze event this Memorial Day weekend. Along with fellow carpenters Robert Rhodes and Paul Lunsford, Keisler cut parts for 41 racers April 28 in the City Park parking lot. Next Saturday they assemble the cars, minus the wheels, which come the third Saturday, preventing two weeks of practice runs in Dunsmuir streets.