By Janet Bresenham
The victory Saturday by Lucinda Fritz, 11, in Clovis’ 2nd annual All-American Soap Box Derby came about after a series of challenges.
“I got my tonsils out the 29th of May,” Lucinda explained. “Then I had to go back in the hospital twice and have another surgery because I was bleeding. Later, my mom asked my doctor if I could drive in the derby, and he said if I felt good and wasn’t weak or anything.”
Throughout the ordeal, the Highland Elementary School student had to have a blood transfusion and lost 10 pounds, according to her mother, Margaret Fritz.
After Lucinda got out of the hospital on June 9, the doctor told her mother, “She can drive, but she just can’t overexert herself.”
Fritz drove a car sponsored by Taco Box, after her mother called event organizer Larry Erwin several weeks ago to ask if anybody needed a driver.
“Last year we had a contest to see who would drive the car,” said Taco Box owner Tom Martin. “We didn’t do that this year and I didn’t know who would drive our car, so I said Lucinda could drive it.”
Lucinda wanted to drive a Soap Box Derby car since it was announced at her school earlier in the spring, her mother said.
“Then, she had complications from the tonsillectomy and her mom said she might not be able to drive the car in the Soap Box Derby,” Martin said. “But she was able to drive it after all. And the rest is history, as they say. She’s just super excited.”
As the local winner, Lucinda will travel to Akron, Ohio, next month to race in the national finals of the All-American Soap Box Derby.