What comes to mind when you hear the word derby? Many children might immediately think of a famous horse race, like the Kentucky Derby. Believe it or not, though, there are actually many different types of derbies all around the world. Let's take a look at a few of the ways “derby" is used.
The annual Kentucky Derby is probably one of the most famous derbies in the world. After all, fans do call it “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports." It's not the only derby when it comes to horse racing, though.
In horse racing, “derby" can refer to any horse race limited to three-year-old horses. The term came from the Derby Stakes, a famous horse race in England that was named after Edward Smith-Stanley, the 12th Earl of Derby.
Roller derby is a contact sport that features two teams of five members each roller skating around a track. Each team picks one player — called the “jammer" — who can score points by skating fast enough to lap members of the other team. The teams play offense and defense at the same time, as they try to help their own jammer while hindering the other team's jammer.
Although some men play on roller derby teams, the sport is dominated mainly by women. It developed from roller skating marathons that were popular in the 1930s. Today, it is a popular sport that is very entertaining to watch.
Besides horse racing and the roller derby, derby is also used in other sports. For example, in England, they use the term “derby" (and pronounce it “darby") to refer to soccer matches between local rivals. In the United States, we might call such matches “crosstown rivalries."
“Derby" can also refer to a more general type of competition. In American baseball, for example, the Home Run Derby is held each year before the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. The Home Run Derby is a contest to see which of the top home run hitters can hit the most home runs in a short competition.
If you're a Cub Scout, then you probably know of another type of derby: the pinewood derby! The pinewood derby is a traditional event in which Cub Scouts race wooden cars they've carved by hand from a block of pine wood. The pinewood derby got its start in 1953 when a Cub Scout leader had the idea of creating a miniature version of the Soap Box Derby races popular at that time.