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Derby Day - January 23, 2007

(This story originally appeared in the Hesperia Star Tuesday, January 23, 2007)

Small car creations provide big fun for Pack 152 Cub Scouts

Helping an elderly woman across the street might be a noble gesture, but this was a whole lot more fun.

Last Saturday, Cub Scouts from Pack 152 gathered for the annual Pinewood Derby competition at the Hesperia Elks Lodge on E Avenue. Scouts brought family members and, most importantly, their one-of-a-kind racecars made from “official Grand Prix Pinewood Derby” kits.

“The Pinewood Derby is a big event for the Cub Scouts nationwide,” said Pack 152 Cubmaster Ed Michels.

Pack 152 competitors created cars displaying a wide array of colors, emblems and shapes. Red, blue, black—even pink—colors were carefully painted on the finished vehicles.

Despite the variety, however, each Scout adhered to strict rules when building their cars. According to official car specifications rules, cars must be 2-3/4-inches wide, 7-inches long and stay within a certain weight when finished.

“It has to be no more than five ounces,” said Faith Maldonado, parent of Cub Scout competitor Krystiano Maldonado.

Although certain variations are allowed, “wheel bearings, washers and bushings are prohibited,” and the car “shall not ride on springs,” according to the rules.

Before competition, which on Saturday was broken down into four age categories, each Scout took their car for inspection and weigh-in, which was overseen by Assistant Cubmaster Ken Lord. Scouts were allowed to carefully add weights, such as screws or other small metal objects, onto cars that came in under 5 ounces.

After making necessary adjustments, each car was placed on a table near the head of the long wooden ramp where the race begins.

“Once they check in the boys can’t touch their cars,” Michels said.

Two at a time, competitors were called up to face head-to-head competition. Consolation matches allowed racers to compete twice. First and second place prizes were given to category and overall winners.

All of the hoopla provided a family-friendly fun afternoon. But the Pinewood Derby offered even more to Scouts.

“It gives the boys a chance to take pride in something,” Michels said.


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