Simple Box takes close race, wins Lynde 500 Push Kart Derby

It was a Lynde 500 decided by a couple of inches and three wheels.

Simple Box, the victor in a field of eight racers for the Lynde 500 Push Kart Derby, won $1,000 and bragging rights for its come-from-behind win against Berta’s Babes on Monday, Sept. 7.

And that was after losing one of its wheels in the heat against Berta’s.

In its 13th year, the family friendly Lynde 500 has become a Labor Day staple in Lynden. It also is a fundraiser for the Lynden Pioneer Museum.

The museum hosts the derby, which is a four-person round-robin relay. Each team has one driver and three people who take turns pushing a kart over a track that includes straight-aways, the Tunnel of Doom and curves — like the Widow Maker — designed to separate wheels from karts, or at least to shred them.

That’s what happened with Simple Box, which fell behind but pushed through on pure grit.

“Closest race of the day. Simple Box threw a wheel, came back,” said an excited Troy Luginbill, co-founder of the Lynde 500 and museum director who, as emcee, was whipping up the crowd that had gathered in downtown Lynden to cheer on the racers.

It was a day of good racing fun and bad jokes, and Luginbill’s trademark cheer — “And they’re off. Boogity, boogity, boogity!” — as the air horn went off and the green race flag came down.

Spectators and racers also chowed down on free hot dogs from Dairy Queen, cooled off with some ice cream and threw balls at a dunk tank.

Bellingham resident Kobe Laird, 18, and Lynden resident Ryan James, 18, were two of the pushers for team Simple Box. And they were all smiles.

Winning felt “pretty good,” Laird said.

James called their win “a miracle.”

As for the shared prize money, they already had plans for the dough.

“College all the way,” James said.

Winning first also was redemption for last year, when Simple Box came in second.

Reach Kie Relyea at 360-715-2234 or kie.relyea@bellinghamherald.com.