Auburn Funk Box Derby hands out the honors

First funk box derby in 18 years raises fun and funds
By: Andrew DiLuccia, Journal Motoring Editor
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After an 18-year absence 16 creations rolled down Lincoln Way in Downtown Auburn Sunday at the Auburn Funk Box Derby. “We have to be very, very pleased with the amount of people (that came out) … it just really came together,” said Keith Hentschel, organizer of the Auburn Funk Box Derby. “We couldn’t be happier by the turnout and the marks we got by the people that came out. The weather cooperated and we have vendors that were happy. The whole day was pretty smooth.” All of the derby racers were funky, original and took many hours to construct. Each of these vehicles were judged on their originality and creativity. The “People’s Choice” award for the derby went to the Placer County Contractors Association for its ride, called the “Funky House on Wheels.” Earning “Best of Show” was the 49er Lions’ “Conestoga Wagon.” “Well, you know being an old hand at it, I kind of know what it takes to please the crowd,” said Dave Brown of the 49er Lions. “We had articulating arms on our lion, they moved up and down. It actually looked like he was driving the horses.” The Boys & Girls Club of Auburn won the “Young and Funky” category with its car, the “Pink Flamingo,” and the “Funkiest” award went to the Letcher Family of Auburn for their car, the “Psychedelic School Bus.” In the commercial class, Al’s Metal Spinning Company won for its car, “The Bullet.” Taking second place was K&H Mining Company for its “K&H Mining Car,” and the “Beverly Hillbillies Truck” by the Assistance League of Greater Placer took third. Tango Frozen Yogurt’s “Deliciousness on Wheels” took fourth. In the non-commercial class, Chris Crabtree’s “The Green Machine” took first and Hunter Williams’ “Old Wine Barrel” was second. “The Star fighter,” sponsored by the Monkey Cat Restaurant and driven by Aidan Dunham took third. “We had a good time. We learned as we went,” Hentschel said. “For the most part, I give ourselves an A-minus.” Along with the race, funds were raised for Seniors First and the Active 20-30 International Club, which were sponsors of the derby. As of Tuesday morning, Hentschel said anywhere from $3,400 to $4,000 was being donated to the two organizations. Helping the funding total was the Auburn Jeep Club’s Pancake Breakfast, which went through 50-plus pounds of pancake mix and donated all proceeds raised to the two groups. “All in all it was wonderful, the weather held off for us,” Brown said. “I think considering it was the first run in 18 years it went excellent.” Dave Rosenthal of KAHI, AM 950 emceed the event and things got started with ShieAnn Yates, who sang the national anthem. “I just want to thank Cheryl and Reed Gibson for their efforts,” Hentschel said. “The two of them were instrumental in working with me, and thanks to Seniors First and the 20-30 Club … and mainly all the people that followed it and tracked it.” Discussions are already under way to set a date for 2011, and Hentschel said moving the event to a Saturday is being considered. Fans of the event are encouraged to continue to check for more information. Andrew DiLuccia can be reached at