I remember my first big step into the prairie space race. My dad and I spent the better part of a Saturday with glue and instructions putting together my first model rocket. It was orange and black, and as far as I was concerned, this was the coolest thing I had ever owned. In my hands was a real, live blast-off-space-rocket and I could not wait to launch it into the stratosphere.
After following all the guidelines, we set out to the field behind our house and my dad checked for wind. We fitted the rocket with an engine, slid it down the metal rod and into place on the launch pad. We uncoiled the wire ignition system and stood as far away as we could. The count-down began, and at 3, 2, 1, I punched the button: Vhooom! My little model was sent sky high. With my head kinked back to track the smoke trail, I knew something was wrong. No parachute deployed and my rocket began to fall with a wobble back to earth. We ran across the field and picked up our bruised toy. Opening it up for a post-mortem, we saw the evidence of some error: the parachute inside sat blackened and melted. Back to the rocket lab to make some re-calculations. It was a perfect afternoon with my dad, and that rocket would go on to fly another day.
Lake Ridge Community Church has played host to our big annual Soap Box Derby for about seven years in Chestermere. When we realized that Covid-19 would make it impossible for us to safely hold a race, we came up with another idea: Chestermere’s first Rocket Derby! We want to give families a fun way to wrap up this challenging summer by hosting a creative event for everyone to safely enjoy.
On Saturday, September 19th from 12:30-3:30 pm, in the field behind Prairie Waters Elementary School, everyone in Chestermere is welcome to come out and watch kids and families send rockets high into the sky. If you want to watch, it’s free, so bring your lawn chair or a picnic blanket, and we’ll have a large area for you to set up and enjoy an afternoon of rocketry.
If you are interested in entering your own model rocket into the Rocket Derby, you are welcome to sign up online at www.lakeridgecommunity.com/rocketderby.
The cost is $5 to enter your rocket and each entrant will be provided with two rocket engines and a team of semi-pro rocket scientists will safely prepare your rocket for each launch. If you need a rocket for the derby, visit one of several hobby stores in Calgary or buy online. To learn more, visit the website for all the details about the types of rockets we’ll be launching that day. We hope that even with all the Covid-19 precautions, we will have an exciting and memorable event for the whole community.
Our neighbourhoods are places where we can celebrate and create together. While we can’t promise that rockets won’t disintegrate in the air or crash onto the ground, like mine did when I was a boy, we can guarantee that our afternoon together will remind us all of the ways that this community is worth cheering on.