The Blue Building at City-County Park has been used for many events from family reunions to wrestling. But on Saturday, it was transformed into the “Blue Building Speedway” as 47 Cub Scouts from Pack 45 hit the track for their annual pinewood-derby event.
In a pinewood derby, “drivers” cannot offer excuses about tire pressures, blown engines or another driver wrecking in front of them; it all comes down to each car’s preparation, and, of course, gravity.
But more importantly for the members of Pack 45, it was a chance to have fun.
Pinewood committee co-chair and Tiger den leader Darrell Jordan said because the cars have to be put together from a kit, it turns out to be a family event.
“The biggest part of the work on the car is the cutting,” Jordan said. “The kids can’t really do most of that, so the parents get involved.”
Jordan added that the event teaches scouts good sportsmanship and gives them a sense of personal achievement.
The derby takes place on a 30-foot downhill track, Jordan said. Once each car is lined up at the starting line, a scout master pulls a lever that releases the cars, and gravity takes control from there.
Besides the scouts’ competition and having fun together, Saturday’s event also offered a siblings class, where brothers and sisters of scouts participated in their own event; and an outlaw class, where the parents were able to compete.
The kits are paid for as part of the yearly pack fees, and they are handed out about a month before the event at the pack’s build night.
“We take an evening and set up at the Blue Building and have power tools that are not available to most scouts and allow them with their parents to get started on building their car,” Jordan said.
The five speed winners will travel to White Hall Elementary School in Richmond to participate in the district derby Saturday, March 17.
The first pinewood derby was held May 15, 1953. By 1955, the pinewood derby was part of the official Cub Scouting program and, while always optional, has become a key part of many Cub Scout packs’ annual programs.
For more information on pinewood derbies or Boy Scouts, visit www.scouting.org.