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Pinewood Derby's purpose is to get Scouts to work with parents

February 26, 2011|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com
  • Scouts watch and cheer as the first race goes by during the Pinewood Derby held Saturday at Northern Middle School.
By Yvette May, Staff Photographer

Accompanied by the recorded sound of race cars, a foursome of 5-ounce, gravity-driven cars thundered down a 40-foot track Saturday at Northern Middle School in the Washington County District Pinewood Derby.

Eighty-five Cub Scouts, the best of 22 packs, competed in the event, among them James Sword VI of Pack 8.

"You have to make it super aerodynamic," Sword said of his theory on how to prevail in the derby. "I'm determined to win."

Alas, the checkered flag for the day went to Mark Grimes of Pack 103, Brandon Cole of Pack 252, Dalton Mayhew of Pack 66, Justin Siebenichen of Pack 252 and Logan Adkins of Pack 17 rounded out the top five.

While winning is fun, it is not everything, or even the main reason for the Cub Scouts to get involved in the Pinewood Derby, Washington County Scout Executive Mark Barbernitz said.

"The whole idea from our standpoint is we don't care who has the fastest car .... It's that kid working with his dad or mom" to build and race the cars.

The imagination of the designers extends beyond how to squeeze a bit more speed out of a piece of wood. The competitors' vehicles sat atop a table in the gymnasium and included cars shaped like a skateboard, a cell phone and even a block of cheese.

"We call it a kit, but it's really a block of wood with four nails and some plastic wheels," Barbernitz said.

One racer took minimalism to the extreme, entering a car that was, in fact, a block of wood. Yet it ran well enough to be one of the five best in his pack's competition, which qualified him for Saturday's races.

These wooden racers will likely be kept by the scouts for years to come, a memento of their youth, Barbernitz said.

"My son came in third 15 years ago, and he still has his car," he said.

Mason Reed of Pack 54 said he and his dad, Eric, worked over about two weeks on his gold racer.

"It's his design, and I helped," Eric Reed said.

"He called it 'The Hurricane,'" Jason Lewis said of the entry of his son, Jonah, a member of Pack 36.

A few hundred people — scouts, parents, grandparents and siblings — crowded the gym to watch the cars hurdle down the ramp and across the finish line before burying their bumpers in a pillow laid across the end of the track.

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