Fast and Furriest: Cub Scouts Host Pinewood Derby
At the car show a week ago Sunday at the Science Zone, motorists brought big muscle cars, big pickups -- some with hydraulic lifts, and one splendid 4,800-pound 1962 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud II.
Casper Cub Scout Pack 2 brought its cars, too.
But none of those could exceed:
- 5 ounces in weight.
- 7 inches in length.
- 2-3/4 inches in width.
Pinewood Derby cars, a creation of a Cub Master in 1953, come in special certified kits and must adhere to other restrictions including using the body, axles and wheels in the kit; no oil lubrication; no springs; no wheel bearings, washers and bushings; and no starting devices, according to scoutshop.org.
But their were no restrictions on designs, because the dozens of little cars waiting in the paddocks came in all shapes, sizes, colors and themes.
Pack 2 Scouts created:
- A Batmobile car.
- Race cars (of course).
- A car carved like the Pinewood Derby track.
- Pool table car.
- Food cars including McDonalds French fries and a banana.
- A pencil car and a complementary eraser ("Pink E-racer") car.
And other cars in designs of:
- A Swiss Army knife.
- A yellow school bus.
- Stitch (from "Lilo and Stitch") on a surfboard.
- A lightning bolt.
- M&Ms box.
- A minimalist wedge.
- An ice cream sandwich.
- A log with a bird's nest.
- Tow Mater from the "Cars" movies.
- Coca Cola.
- Scooby Doo.
- A tiger with a V-8 and a roll bar.
- A waving American flag.
- A tank painted in camouflage.
- A beaver chewing on a log.
- A tape measure.
- A Radio Flyer wagon
At the top of the 35-foot long aluminum derby track, Jacx Ellis lined up three cars.
The Cub Scouts themselves enter their own cars, while onlookers can pick a car and enter it.
Scout leader David Little riled up the crowd, announces the entrants, and counts down to the start.
Jacx pulls the lever to send their cars to their Pinewood destinies, and in roughly 2.4 seconds they cross the finish line. (After the calculations, reals cars going that fast would be clocked at about 270 mph.)
No subjective eyes determine the winner; that's done by an electronic monitor over.
Jacx mother Melissa enters the winners in a computer, while daughter MacKenzie picks up the cars and shows them to curious kids.
(In full disclosure, I still have my Pinewood Derby car from my Cub Scout days roughly six decades ago. My car, carved with the help of my dad, was among those in a group of packs in north of Cincinnati. It came in second to the kid who won the championship in Ohio.)