Keystone Rally Association Logo - Soapbox Derby Organization
soapbox derby car
About the Keystone Rally Association
The Keystone Rally Association was formed in the winter of 1975 by small group of soap box derby racing ethusiasts consisting of Bob Ellenberger from Harrisburg, PA, Don Nixon from Zionsville, PA, Jim Adams from Allentown, PA, John Burns from Dover, DE, Griff Jones from Phillipsburg, VA and John Stead from Morrisville, PA. Their goal was to create a fair and consistent rally racing program that allowed drivers to race on different hills throughout the latter part summer into fall. For a more detailed history, please visit our Keystone History page.
The goal of soap box derby racing, as stated in the All-American Soap Box Derby Association's Mission Statement, is to educate and inspire youth through fair and honest competition and mentorship. The sport advances family values by providing an environment where parents or other adults work hands-on with racers to instill basic skills of workmanship, the spirit of competition and the perseverance to complete a project from start to finish.
The objective of the Keystone Rally Association is to promote and educate youth about the sport of soap box derby racing, provide a fair and safe environment for youngsters to participate and to promote family involvement in the sport.
Becoming a member of the Keystone Rally Association is very easy. Simply bring your car and driver to any Keystone race and you're a member. There are no annual fees but there is one critical requirement - have fun! Members who participate in at least half of the fall season races are eligible to vote in Keystone Rally Association matters that are raised at various meetings held throughout the year. Everyone is encouraged to attend these meetings.
Board of Directors
The Keystone Rally Association is guided by a Board of Directors consisting of the Officers of the organization (President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary), our Race Directors and our Committees. Elected Officers of the Association carry out the business of the Association with input from the entire Board and our members.
Competition Rules
Since 1976, during the Fall Season (August through October), the Keystone Rally Association has held a grand prix style soap box derby competition. Drivers in each division earn "Keystone Points" depending on their finish in each of the races, which are held in different towns. The driver(s), in each division, who earns the most Keystone points is crowned the Keystone Champion for that division. An end-of-season picnic and awards ceremony is held to honor, not only our champions, but all of our drivers and their families for their accomplishments. This picnic is a great opportunity for the Keystone kids to gather one last time before the winter break.
To ensure consistancy and provide clear definition, Keystone maintains a set of rules that govern our competition. Click here for a full listing of our Competition Rules.
Rally Rules
All of our participating race cities, in addition to the Competition Rules, agree to utilize a standard set of rules when conducting a Keystone Rally. These rules were created with our driver's safety in mind and to help ensure a fair competition for all of our of participants. This ability for multiple race cities to work together is the cornerstone of our organization and distinguishes us from other soap box derby organizations. Click here for a full listing of our Rally Rules.
The Robert Ellenberger Award
Bob Ellenberger
Since 1983, the Robert Ellenberger Award has been presented to the person, or family, that has the best interests of soap box derby racing at heart. In 2008, Mr. John Stead graciously provided the following brief account of the man behind the award.
Bob raced in the Harrisburg area when he was a young boy. As time passed, he again became active in soap box derby racing. He was always ready to help those who were interested in soap box derby racing and for many years was a very important member of Harrisburg's All-American local organization. In the winter of 1975, when the Keystone Rally Association originated, Bob was one of the first persons to volunteer his services to the organization. In the beginning, the organization faced opposition and many challenges because the entire racing standards had to be restructured. Some of the changes that were implemented include wheel programs, lane calibrations, double elimination races and standard heat charts. He worked very hard in resolving many of these early situations.
Bob knew it was very important that the organization reward as many youngsters as possible for their efforts and was instrumental in setting the standard of awarding multiple trophies for 9th and 10th place finishers which was unheard of at that time. There were times during the first several years when people would try to place their interests ahead of the organization. It was at these times that Bob could always be counted on do what was right for all of the youngsters first and this always would be proven to be the right decision for the Keystone Rally Association.
The Keystone Rally Association would never have been able to become the success that it has if not for people such as Bob Ellenberger.
For those of us who were lucky enough to know him, we knew him as a kind and caring man with a dry and contagious sense of humor. Sadly we were to lose Bob in 1982 at the very young age of 49.

It is only fitting that an award be given by the Keystone Rally Organization to the person, or family, that exhibits Bob's committment to the sport.
Bob Ellenberger
Past Recipients
1983Nick Fischer 1984Wayne Sheffer 1985Dennis Wilt 1986John Stead
1987Mary Gibbon 1988Jack Gibbon 1989Don Nixon 1990Janice Wetzel
1991George Rodenbaugh 1992Don Lenox 1993Joe Culley 1994not presented
1995not presented 1996Kenny Krause 1997Pat Stefan 1998Jeff Hashagen, Sr.
1999John Niedzwiecki 2000Lee Fitzpatrick 2001Liz Fritz 2002Jim Garloff
2003Kermit Royer 2004Jim Hagan 2005Pat and Ted Stefan 2006Isabella Family
2007Don Lenox (posthumous) 2008Larry Burkert 2009Todd Garloff and Kent Finkbeiner 2010Joe Motto
2011Carpenter Family 2012not presented 2013not presented 
The Nixon-Stead Sportsmanship Award
The Nixon-Stead Sportsmanship Award is named after Don Nixon and John Stead, both pioneers of the Keystone Rally Association. It is presented to the driver, or the family, that exibits the best sportsmanship during a Keystone season. Recipients embody the true spirit of our organization.
Past Recipients
1989Jonathan Koons 1990Kristen Turner 1991Craig Wetzel 1992Tom Weaver III
1993Kristen Donovan 1994Tim Berkheimer 1995Jeff Hashagen, Jr. 1996Ryan Deardorff
1997Drew Wetzel 1998Bob O'Byrne 1999Austin Benner 2000Olivia Kollar
2001Scott Shoemaker 2002Douglas Vogel 2003Shawn Mitkus 2004Courtney Isabella
2005Josh Phillips 2006Paige Garloff 2007the Flor family 2008coming soon
2009Zack Wensel 2010Kevin Casey 2011Zach Marion 2012 
2013the Amadeo Family