Boy Scout troop finds need for speed at Pinewood Derby
Ready. Set. Go. Cub Scout Pack 64 hosted a race for the ages at its annual Pinewood Derby Saturday, March 25.
The event, held at Cross of Glory Church in Homer Glen, aims not only challenge to local Boy Scouts, but also to engage them in a fun, collaborative way.
“Pinewood Derby is a tradition in cub scouting that goes back years,” Cub Master Troy Siewert said. “It is one of the most anticipated events of the year for the boys. It’s an opportunity for them to work on building a Pinewood Derby car with a family member—whether that’s mother, father, aunt, uncle, grandfather. It gives them an opportunity to work with hand tools, power tools.”
All Boy Scouts were required to go through a registration process to confirm whether their car follows a set of rules.
“The big one that everybody is concerned about is how much the car weighs,” Siewert said. “Pinewood Derby cars are not allowed to weigh more than five ounces. Obviously, the heavier the car, the faster it goes because of gravity, which is why people want to get as close to five ounces as possible.”
Siewert said they were expecting more than 165 spectators at this year’s Pinewood Derby.
The event typically brings in between 55 and 60 registered participants. This year, 58 Boy Scouts signed up to compete.
“Now, they get to see the fruits of their labor,” Siewert said. “They get to watch their car race against the other cars and see how it does…Boys [will be seen] cheering their cars on, cheering their friends’ cars on. Sometimes things will happen where a car will jump off the track or hit the end, and all the boys go, ‘oh, my god.’”
Let the races begin
The festivities got underway with a flag ceremony and a recital of the pledge of allegiance, followed by voting on car designs.
The numbers assigned to the Pinewood Derby cars were announced at the start of each heat.
Families and children in attendance lined the racetrack for a chance to witness their respective Cub Scout’s car accelerate down the track. With each passing heat, the crowd cheered and clapped.
Don Wallace, of Homer Glen, stood on the sidelines rooting for his 7-year-old son, Ben, as he looked to compete.
“I won second place last year [in the race],” Ben said.
Ben said his favorite part, though, is the car design contest
“[I like] that you get to vote,” he said.
Don said it took some time to put together the Pinewood Derby car, but it was worth it.
“We probably spent over a course of a number of weeks, we probably spent a couple hours here, a couple hours there,” Don said. “Maybe, I’d say eight hours probably.
“It’s a good experience because it [teaches] them kind of a little bit more how to work with their hands and get involved. It definitely is a good learning experience.”
Andrew Lola, of Lockport, said he was enjoying his time spent with his 6-year-old son, Daniel.
“It’s a lot of cars,” Andrew said. “[When we did the Space Derby], it seemed like there was a little bit less. There’s a lot more this time around.”
Daniel agreed with Andrew.
“I like all the cars,” he said.
This year was the Lola’s first time competing in the Pinewood Derby.
Andrew noted that putting together the car was challenging and said their effort will not be for naught.
“We had a good time,” he said. “He helped me sand it, and we started talking about aerodynamics and gravity and things of that sort. It was a good opportunity for [us to spend time together.]”
At the conclusion of the race, awards were issued to the Top 3 Boy Scouts for best race time and Top 3 car designs.
Boy Scouts will learn a number of lessons by working on their Pinewood Derby cars. This includes the physics of where weight should be placed, where center of gravity is, why it’s important to lubricate the axles and wheels and how to create friction.
“They’re learning, they’re spending time with family members, they have a good time, and then, of course, everybody’s favorite part is the races,” Siewert said. “It’s a good time.”
Siewert stressed that it’s not all about winning in the Pinewood Derby.
“It’s about spending time with your father, mother, grandfather [or] grandmother, learning to use the tools, having fun, watching it race,” he said. “That’s what it’s about.”