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boxcar derby

Signups for the 2nd annual Oakfield box car derby begin June 29

By Press Release
Photo from 2023's inaugural Box Car Derby.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Press Release:

The Oakfield Box Car Derby Association presents the 2nd annual Oakfield Box Car Derby on Saturday, July 27 at noon on Bennett Avenue in Oakfield.

We are a local family and friends-based non-profit organization founded to hold this annual event for the children of Oakfield and surrounding communities and to promote STEM programs.

The event is in memory of Suzanne “Sue” D’Alba who was one of the founders of the Oakfield Betterment Committee and the Oakfield Labor Daze festival, as well as a volunteer and member of many other civic organizations. She always liked a good old-fashioned event, and we feel this fits that mold.

We hope to one day fund a small scholarship in her honor for a graduating student going to trade school.

Please join us as it will be a family friendly fun-filled event. To register please see the information below. Register now as we have 32 slots available, and they are filling fast.

Register in person on Saturday, June 29 from 1 - 3 p.m. and Monday, July 1 from 6 - 8 p.m. at Grandma Rosie’s Ice Cream, next to Santino’s in Oakfield.

Soapbox derby registration opens this evening at John Kennedy's Mud Run

By Staff Writer
my cut derby
Submitted photo.

Registration is now open for the Boxcar Derby, sponsored by the Business Improvement District, and to be held at Centennial Park on Aug. 17.

The first opportunity to register is today at John Kennedy Intermediate School, 166 Vine St., Batavia, during the Mud Run, which starts at 6:30 p.m. and goes until 7:30 p.m.

There are 32 positions available.  The entry fee is $20 per racer.  There will be a BID Boxcar Derby booth at the Mud Run. The race is open to children ages 7 to 10.

“We encourage our racers to show their talents, personalities, and dedication,” Maute said. “My Cut Barbershop and our BID leaders do that daily in their businesses and our community, and we applaud them for sponsoring one of our great racers this year.” 

“We encourage our racers to show their talents, personalities, and dedication,” said BID Director Shannon Maute. “My Cut Barbershop and our BID leaders do that daily in their businesses and our community, and we applaud them for sponsoring one of our great racers this year.”

Additional forms will be available by request to Maute at 

“We’re excited to host another great day of fun, family-friendly activities as we celebrate the skills and sportsmanship of our racers,” Maute said.

My Cut Barbershop hosted a kick-off event recently.

Boxcar derbies match speed of workforce development, coach says

By Press Release
Photo from 2023 Inaugural Oakfield Labor Daze Box Car Derby by Howard Owens.

By Chris Suozzi

Accelerating as they hit the final stretch to cross the finish line, pairs of boxcar derby racers dipped their heads. It was one of many lessons I was pleased to share with youth aged 7 -13 gained through a Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation-sponsored program.

70 racers and their families took up the challenge of building, designing, and perfecting their cars for a pair of fast-paced events – the August 26 BID Boxcar Derby in Batavia and the September 2 Labor Daze Boxcar Derby in Oakfield.

These events, and partners like the Batavia Business Improvement District and Oakfield Betterment Committee, create lifelong memories and demonstrate that through innovative workforce development programs, youth in Genesee County and surrounding communities develop through skill-building activities, career engagement, and training.

From Boxcar to Bootcamp

The pace of a boxcar derby matches the speed of our workforce development. We offer diverse tracks for our students, advancing them from pee-wee to pro levels, just like team sports. See below how our racers can progress with programs reaching every age and multiple ability levels.

  • Ages 7 to 13 – Boxcar Derby
  • Ages 8 to 11 – STEAM Jam, a GCC Tech Wars program for 3 rd to 5 th grade students
  • Ages 12 to 15 – Camp Hard Hat, a weeklong building construction trades program.
  • Ages 13 to 18 – GLOW With Your Hands: Manufacturing and GLOW With Your Hands : Healthcare, mass career exploration festivals with hands-on demonstrations; GCC Tech Wars, an extended STEM challenge program
  • Ages 17 to 18 – Finger Lakes Youth Apprenticeships, employer-matched job shadowing and co-ops; GV BOCES training in mechatronics, welding, precision machining, and building trades; Cornell in High School food processing training program, a three-day accelerated food & beverage training program
  • Ages 18 to 24 – Genesee Valley Pre-Apprenticeship Program, a six-week accelerated mechatronics training program

Committed to Workforce Solutions

As I recently told the Buffalo News, my sense of urgency is like no other. That’s why we’ve been in overdrive to solve the workforce demands of the future ahead of time.

The GCEDC works with our training providers, school engagement organizations, and educators to expand the capacity of training programs. We’ve seen real results – there’s been a 30% increase in BOCES training participation since 2019, events and programs in our community had over 3,000 participants last year, and we're on pace to welcome 1,000 students to GLOW With Your Hands: Manufacturing later this month. 

We need to continue to overcome national challenges that start at home and school. It is crucial to empower parents, older siblings, friends and teachers to encourage pathways with no college debt. The outcomes for our recent pre-apprenticeship graduates, with immediate careers paying over $27/hour highlight the importance of these opportunities.

It’s a challenge that renews every school year. With over 700 high-quality careers coming with Plug Power and Edwards semiconductor at STAMP, and over 1,000 more at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, the capacity for great local jobs is being met. 

These are careers within reach.

Let’s all think and act like our boxcar racers. 

We just have to stretch, to pull together, and I know we’ll win.

Coach Swazz

Photos: Labor Daze in Oakfield hosts inaugural Box Car Derby

By Howard B. Owens
oakfield box car derby
Winner Elias Pamer with the flagman for his championship race, Alex Chaya.
Photo by Howard Owens.

At the end of nearly three hours of racing on Oak Street in Oakfield, Elias Pamer won the younger division and Cody Pangrazio won the older division in the Inaugural Oakfield Labor Daze Box Car Derby.

Photos by Howard Owens.

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In the younger kids divisions, winner Elias Pamer and second place, Evians Piscitemili.
oakfield box car derby
The older division, winner Cody Pangrazio,second, Joe Baron, and third,Shae Finn.

Labor Daze to feature inaugural box car derby

By Press Release

Press Release:

The Oakfield Betterment Committee will be holding its first Box Car Derby on Saturday, September 2 as part of its annual Labor Daze Festival. We are looking for boys and girls from all of the GLOW region between the ages of 7 to 13 to participate. Register your child at For more information call Scott at 716-218-6000.

There will be a Junior Division of 7-10 year-olds and a Senior Division of 11-13 year-olds. We will have 16 openings in each division and spots will be filled on a first come first serve basis. Sign up now as openings are filling fast. The deadline to register is Monday, August 7 and the registration fee is $20 per child.

Family discounts may apply. Registration fees can be paid by cash, check, or Venmo. Checks should be made out to Oakfield Betterment Committee. Official Cars will be provided by Greater Rochester Soap Box Derby Association. Cars will be available 2-3 weeks before the event for participants to customize.

The Greater Rochester Soap Box Derby Association will conduct a clinic for children and adults to ensure a safe race and give the children some basic car-building skills. Participants will be required to install the outer shell and wheels on the chassis. Practice session will be held on Friday, September 1 to ensure a safe event. 

Cars are required to be turned in after the event as they are being leased by the Oakfield Betterment Committee. Trophies will be provided for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, and all participants will receive a prize. This should be a good old-fashioned, fun event to be enjoyed by participants and fans alike. A special thanks to the GDEDC and the Rochester & Genesee Valley Workforce Development Institute (WDI) for partnering with us to make this event happen.


Submitted photos

Build Day for boxcar derby brings, kids, families and volunteers downtown

By Joanne Beck

There was one part about an upcoming boxcar race that especially appealed to Mason Dominiak, he said.

The 13-year-old likes speed.

“I like racing,” he said Saturday at Jackson Square in Batavia. “The adrenaline of going fast, I like going really fast.”

He and Adrian Tabelski were watching Adrian’s dad work to gradually put together a boxcar for them. The boys are participants of a first-ever Batavia Business Improvement District Boxcar Derby. Handmade creations will take off down the Ellicott Avenue hill at 9:30 a.m. sharp on Aug. 27.

Saturday was “Build Day,” and about 10 kids and their parents picked up their car kits and took them home to work on while the remaining 20 stopped by throughout the day to put their cars together with hands-on support from many BID committee members and community volunteers.

In between sounds of construction equipment, Adrian, 10, said that his participation was sort of a surprise.

“My mom signed me up,” he said.

Adrian in turn invited Mason to come along. They are sharing the initial duties of assembling and decorating a car, and both agreed that Adrian would be taking the wheel on race day. He has never been in a boxcar, but has “learned a lot about construction” during the day, he said.

Mason didn’t think he’d know as much as he did. Then again, he has worked on vehicles — four-wheeling is his favorite ride — and once had to take an entire engine out for a piston issue, he said. He will be there on race day to root on his friend. They began to brainstorm their car's exterior: how about black and gold with flames for a design, they agreed.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Mason said.

Committee member Lydia Schauf had telltale signs of sawdust on her black outfit. Using a saw, perhaps? No, drilling into wood.

“So we found out that they're doing the boxcar thing, and they were doing a build day. So we all came out and said that we’ll volunteer and help cut out templates, like my dad said, and just help build wherever we can with these kids,” she said. “It was fun to get out and try my hand at it.”

Lydia gave her dad, Rich Schauf, a nudge to join her in the effort. She also brought friend Marianne Pautler with her.

When asked if there had been any mishaps yet, Pautler smiled and nodded yes.

“I might have added a couple extra pieces here and there,” she said. “Those two extra pieces slid in. But hopefully it's been rectified. We went back through and pulled them out,” she said. “So yeah, just putting the kits together so that they're ready for the people to pick up or build here.”

Looking like he was ready to hunker down for some work, Rich Schauf, wearing a thick gray headband, happily obliged his daughter’s request, he said. He saw lots of enthusiasm during his time there.

“I thought it was a very worthwhile project,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of kids. And it's been really great to see these young kids and their excitement. I don't know if memory is still serving people about it, or if this will be new to people, but it's pretty exciting. And if you remember back in the day, it was quite good.”

There were stations with various tools and materials set up for the project, and several committee members and volunteers on hand to help. Participants each received a car kit, and BID merchants have been supportive of the idea, Executive Director Shannon Maute said. The race will be double elimination, which means several — about 50 — races on event day.

She and the others encourage spectators to join the fun and root for the kids. There will be tents set up and pizza and beverages for sale afterward as a “picnic in the park” BID style at Centennial Park, she said.

“We would like to make this a really large event. I mean, how fun cheering on these kids going down the hill, because what a feeling of a park filled with people cheering you on when you're going down this ramp,” she said. “I have challenged every child that I've come in contact with, because I built a car and I have challenged them to race me, so it's gonna be fun.”

She joked that she threw the gauntlet down to committee member Chris Suozzi, but believes that “he’s afraid to race me.”

The actual race is not in the downtown business district, she said, but merchants were OK with that. Ellicott Avenue has not only a nice hill that’s in the city but also was used years ago for similar races, she said.

“We had talked at length if anyone minded us doing (this) actually outside of the downtown area, but everyone was all for it because it's really more about the kids and not the district,” she said.

Other members Saturday included Jim Krencik, Lauren Becht, Gail Tenney, John Roche, and volunteers Don Cunningham, Jay Steinbrenner, Ron Galdun, Derek Ells, and TJ Henderson. Genesee Lumber cut and delivered the wood needed for the car kits.

The adults have taken care of all of the “logistics,” Krencik said, so that “the kids can focus on the hands-on skills that they’re learning by building the boxcars.”

“And then having a lot of fun racing them,” he said. “Our goal really was, for Build Day, to see the kids, their smiles as they’re walking away with these projects that they’re gonna dive into. And it’s going to be several hours of memories that I think are gonna really inspire them as they go through middle school, high school and, for my hat with GCEDC, to integrate into careers.”

As for the fun of it, someone suggested to him to think of the Little Rascals movie, in which the impish kids race boxcars. That sealed it for Krencik, he said, and that movie has fueled his zeal for the grand finale next month.

“It's really gonna be fun on August 27, to see these kids take off … it’s right at the corner of Centennial Park. But I liked that the race kind of goes towards the heart of the BID,” he said. “Because I think that's the energy that's right there. And it's getting more memories for those kids coming downtown like they are today.”

Parents, committee members, volunteers, and kids got together to build some boxcars Saturday at Jackson Square. Photos by Jim Krencik.

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