Race History

Bisbee Coaster Race 1965-1975

Coaster races have been part of Bisbee’s July 4th celebration for many years, but the first contests were not held on Independence Day.  Early Bisbee resident Oliver Brown and others organized races that ran from the top of the Divide to Copper Queen Plaza—about three miles over mostly unpaved streets. Those first races were harrowing affairs with two-man coasters and danger around every curve as drivers struggled to keep their vehicle from plunging over the edge and down mountain sides.  The first holiday races took place on Thanksgiving Day, 1914 and for a few years contests were held on Christmas or Labor Day as well.  In 1923 July 4th became the official coaster race day and the event has become a centerpiece of Bisbee’s celebration. Over the years, there have been accidents, some tragic, and for more than a decade in the 1980’s racing was absent from the holiday festivities. In 1993, the coasters came back with guidelines to assure the safety of drivers and spectators. Today, Bisbee’s Independence Day celebration begins in the morning with colorful homemade coasters rolling down the canyon competing for the best time and continuing a grand century old tradition. 

Bisbee Coaster Races

PO BOX 4401

Bisbee, AZ 85603

© Bisbee Community Coaster Races