Evon Williams hoping to bring back Pushcart Derby

August 04, 2016
Ian Allen/Photographer Pushcart lover Evon Williams and his son, Antoniel, show-off their newly built machine.
Pushcart lover Evon Williams and his son, Antoniel, show off their newly built machine.

For the past 16 years, Evon Williams has been longing for the reintroduction of his lifelong passion, the Pushcart Derby, which he said came to an untimely end in 2000.

Since then, Williams has been investing much of his time and money into reintroducing the sport, and said there is still an audience and a market just waiting for the reintroduction of the Pushcart Derby.

"When my friends and I sit down and talk about years gone by when we used to race at Red Gal Ring in Stony Hill, and go to the derby in St Ann, people sit and listen in amazement, just wishing they were there to experience it too," Williams shared.

During its heyday, the Pushcart Derby used to be a highly anticipated Summer event held in St Ann featuring teams from all 14 parishes, steering their creatively crafted carts down a steep slope for the championship title, much to the amusement of onlookers.

The Pushcart Derby is credited for the inspiration to start a Jamaican Bobsleigh team.

derby enthusiast

Williams, who once led the Kingston and St Andrew team to victory, said he is imploring on sponsors and partners to come on board to make the Pushcart Derby a reality once more.

The Pushcart Derby enthusiast spent a week creating a highly detailed vision board, showcasing his idea of what the modern day event would look like.

Williams said he invested over $100,000 and spent more than two months designing and making an advanced pushcart, which he said would be the model for the cars used in the event.

"So far, I've paid to get some scrapped parts from a car and used it on the cart. It has everything a car has, except for a transmission and engine. The steering box, the braking system, and everything under it works just like a car," he explained, adding that the lights and paint job will come in soon.

Williams said he would be willing to teach the newcomers the art of driving the pushcart, and he has many push cart derby veterans who he could call on to assist.

"While I was building the car, a whole group of young bike riders were in the yard every night just watching me in amazement, wondering what I'm going to do next. They were so interested in it, asking me to make one for them too. I'm telling you about 30 to 40 guys," Williams noted.

The 'love affair' Williams shares with the sport is deeply rooted, as he started pushing carts in downtown Kingston at 16 years old to finance himself and his sister. He also broke his leg while racing in his first derby, but that never deterred him from the sport.

"I keep pushing for it to happen because it brings joy to people. It brings such excitement for people. I always want it to be a part of Jamaica's culture like it used to be," Williams said.

Persons wanting to help Williams in the reintroduction of the the pushcart derby contact him at 1-876-583-1338.

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