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Kids Klassic and Pumpkin Derby to be combined into 2009 Big Bad Pumpkin Races on Oct. 17 at Shawnee Mission Park
POSTED: 09/28/2009
The Big Bad Pumpkin Races will include the fourteenth annual Kids Klassic Run/Walk with its five-kilometer (3.1 mile) or 2-mile cross-country routes and half-mile fun run/walk as well as the Big Bad Pumpkin Derby, which made its debut in 2008 and drew 500 spectators and 48 entries to this double-elimination pumpkin race.

"We saw it as a great opportunity to combine two of our events into one so we could have people come up to the park and do the run and then do the Pumpkin Derby," said. Corporate and Community Wellness Coordinator Chad Tower. "Whether the whole family does one event or one kid does the cross-country races and the other would want to do the pumpkin derby, we figured they could spend the morning at the park."

Parking for both events will take place near The Theatre in the Park, which is located within Shawnee Mission Park with a separate entrance at 7710 Renner Road, Shawnee.

Kid's Klassic

The Kids Klassic Run/Walk will take place beginning at 9 a.m. in the large field north of the JCPRD Administration Building. Participants have a choice of a five-kilometer (3.1 mile) or two-mile route. There's also a free half-mile fun run/walk that will begin at 9:30 a.m. While a clock located at the finish line will display the time, this event will not be scored. Everyone who runs or walks is considered a winner! This year's event will be somewhat more competitive than in past year, as the event has also been promoted to area track coaches.

The event is open to kids of all ages, and grown-ups too! Adults are welcome to enter and are encouraged (but not required) to enter with a child. All participants receive a Kids Klassic T-shirt, post-race refreshments, and will be eligible for prize drawings. All children who finish the race will receive a medal.

The cost is $14 for children and $16 for adults until Oct. 16 and $16 for children and $18 for adults after that date. Early registration is advised. Mail-in registrations must be postmarked by Monday, Oct. 11, while walk-in registrations must be received by 4 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 15. For more information, call (913) 831-3359. Participants can also sign up from 2 to 6 p.m. on Friday Oct. 16 at Building A, Antioch Park, 6501 Antioch, Merriam Park, and from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. on race day at Shawnee Mission Park.

The free half-mile fun run/walk is open to all, especially kids six and under. Finisher ribbons will be awarded to all kids!

Volunteers are also needed for this event. For more information or to sign up, contact Chad Tower at (913) 236-1231.

Big Bad Pumpkin Derby

The Big Bad Pumpkin Derby will take place beginning at 10 a.m. in parking lot of The Theatre in the Park. Whether you come as a competition or a spectator, this must-do fall happening for the spirited and fun-loving of all ages is sure to be one of your best fall experiences. In addition to the pumpkin derby, there will be food concessions and hayrides available.

"I really haven't seen an event which was so successful," Childrens Services Manager Kim Chappelow Lee said of last year's event. "We were especially blown away by the happy, upbeat atmosphere. It just had a really nice feel, so all we needed to do was provide the track."

The event is free to spectators, but there is a fee of $25 for each entry in the pumpkin race. Advance registration is required for all racers.

All interested parties are invited to build and enter their own pumpkin race car and compete in this double-elimination derby. Entries must be constructed from real pumpkins and use two independent axles with wheels attached and which must run through the pumpkin. The derby will take place on a course in the theater parking lot which will be roughly 50 yards long. The slope of a 12-inch ramp will get the pumpkins rolling and slope of the parking lot will do the rest. No chassis of any kind, such as skateboards or toy trucks, can be used and no motorized enhancements are allowed. Entries in violation of the rules will be allowed to race, but are disqualified from winning, although they can still be considered for the categories below.

Three divisions are offered for the derby: Parent/Child, Youth, and Young at Heart. First through third place trophies and gift certificates will be awarded in each division. Ribbons and gift certificates will also be awarded in five design categories.

For complete event rules, construction tips, and design categories, visit For more information or to register, call (913) 831-3359.

More information about both events, including complete event rules, construction tips, and design categories for the Pumpkin Derby can be found at

Both events will benefit the Jordan Lee Brooks Scholarship Fund. Brooks was a student at Briarwood Elementary School who suffered from asthma and finally succumbed to the disease in the summer of 1998 at the age of nine. From each participant entry fee, a portion will be used to provide financial assistance to qualifying families to participate in Johnson County Park and Recreation District Children's Services programs.

Note: The Oct. 17 date for the Kids Klassic represents a change from the Oct. 3 original date which was printed in the JCPRD's Fall Activities Catalog.

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