5 ‘Funky’ questions with Jimmy Wall

Auburn fixture happy derby event making return to Downtown after 18-year absence
By: Paul Cambra
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Jimmy Wall, 56, is a fixture in Auburn. Born and raised here, the Placer High School graduate can be found at just about every home Hillmen game. Wall has been an enthusiastic participant in the Special Olympics, ARD recreation basketball leagues and much more. He regularly walks the Downtown and Old Town business districts, putting up fliers and greeting friends. “Jimmy drops in every now and then and gives me the lowdown on the sports scores,” said Lisa Swisley, owner of Tango Frozen Yogurt. “Seems like everybody in town knows him.” Swisley has entered a car in Sunday’s Funk Box Derby in Downtown Auburn, something near and dear to Jimmy Wall’s heart. Q: Jimmy, you were a major proponent in reviving Auburn’s Funk Box Derby. What is it about the event that you enjoy so much? A: “I just think it’s good for Auburn, to get people out there and have some fun. People come Downtown and they shop and stuff. It’s good for Downtown. I’ve been to a lot of them. They used to do it in Old Town and one year a car almost went on to the freeway.” Q: Are there any limitations on the cars? A: “Anything goes, that’s what’s so fun about it. They inspect them on Cleveland Avenue; make sure there’s no motors in them, or any sharp edges. But there was a car that looked like the Starship Enterprise, and one was a pink flamingo.” Q: Have you ever raced a car yourself? A: “No, I guess I’ll have to wait until next year. I have to build one first. You start with the wheels, axles and frame and go from there. But we should build one. Maybe the Auburn Journal could build one.” Q: If you could design your own funk box car, what would it look like? A: “I’d have a cage around it, to make it safe, and I’d make it two-story, with a little seating area for passengers on top.” Q: Anything you’d like to tell people about the event? A: “Start building cars for next year. We need to have 100-140 cars. We could get the Scout troops involved, the Rotary, Lions and other organizations. We need to get it real big. We should start the planning now, let the people know about it.”