Summit County Cub Scouts compete in annual Pinewood Derby
Six wooden race cars zipped down the metal chute. The crowd cheered as three boys in Cub Scout uniforms towed the cars back to the start line in a red wagon.
At the Pinewood Derby, one of the Cub Scouts’ most anticipated events, Packs 186 of Dillon/Silverthorne and 187 of Breckenridge competed Monday night in a series of 64 heats, with the fastest cars exceeding speeds of 200 mph. Each one was made with the same kit: a block of pinewood, four nail axels and four plastic wheels.
“It’s important to understand that you can work and create something amazing out of a block of wood,” said Pack 186 assistant scoutmaster Kendal Vaille. “The goal is for the parent and kid to work on it together.”
This year was the first time Packs 186 and 187 raced together, as Scouts grades one through five built and raced their own cars. First-grader Aiden Chambers’ car was a team effort, brought together by three generations of Scouts: from grandfather to grandson.
“It took three or four days to build,” said Aiden, who decorated his car after the PBS cartoon “Wild Kratts.” “It’s an orange one. My car goes 201 mph.”
Aiden’s grandfather, John Chambers, said they built the car to conform to the width of the current track. With a set weight limit of 5 ounces per car, they drilled a hole in the bottom of the 4-ounce pine block and put in washers to add more weight. No special bearings or wheels are allowed for the competition.
“His favorite number is number eight, so his car is number eight. He adorned it with all of the artwork when it was done,” John Chambers said. “My son intentionally stayed out of it. He wanted it to be a grandfather-grandson project.”
The Chambers’ derby car made third place overall based on race time. Jay Chambers, Aiden’s father, said the Dillon and Silverthorne Scouts hosted a workshop to help parents and their kids build the cars.
“It makes it more fun when there’s more competition,” Jay Chambers said. “Everyone has a fighting chance.”
Both father and grandfather reminisced to when they had their first Pinewood Derby. Then, there was a simple wooden track, with no mechanisms or sensors at the end.
Fourth-grader Brady Ohi built three cars for fun, putting together one Derby car in one day.
“It was really fun. It was really hard to build the cars and it took a lot of patience,” Brady said. He won first place among the other Webelos 1 Scouts.
Not all of the awards were based on speed. Several awards for design were handed out, with the “funniest car” going to one shaped and painted like a watermelon slice. More than 60 cars entered the race — not all of them constructed by Cub Scouts. Siblings and parents also competed with their own creations.
Vaille said Pack 186 has hosted the Pinewood Derby in Silverthorne for 10 years. She added that while it was many Scouts’ favorite event, “It’s some dads’ favorite too.”
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