Nikki Carlson Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
What began in 1953 as an idea for a small boy who was too young to enter into Soap Box Derby races in Manhattan Beach, Calif., transformed into a smaller substitution that swept the Boys Scouts of America. Today the Pinewood Derby is a racing event not only for the Cub Scouts, but for their families. This Saturday Havre Cub Scout Pack 4426 will host the district and pack Pinewood Derby for the fourth time at the Holiday Village Mall for Cub Scout packs from Cut Bank to North Dakota. Weigh-in begins at 11 a. m. and races will start at 12:30 p.m. "We would love to have as many people as possible there," District Pinewood Derby chairman Dave McLeod said. "It's going to be a lot of fun." McLeod said this year the district and pack derbies are combined at the mall. McLeod said Pack 4426 members were given derby kits at the beginning of February and have since constructed their wooden speed racers for the big race. The scouts have specific rules that they must abide by in order to compete in the event. Each kit contains a block of pine with two notches for the four plastic BSAapproved wheels and four nails or metal axles. Participants and scouts must use all nine pieces in their finished product, the cars cannot exceed five ounces, cannot be made smaller and must fit on the track. The cars' designs are left up to the minds' eyes of the participants. Weights, coins or melted lead can be glued to the bottom of the cars to add weight so they glide down the track. Parents are allowed to assist scouts and siblings with the design, carving, painting and fine-tuning of the cars. McLeod added that Danny Boyer, Montana State University-Northern's carpentry instructor, allowed the entire pack to use his workshop to work on their cars. "He took a Saturday of his own time to help us out," McLeod said. McLeod's 9-year-old daughter, Airyanna, will compete in the district derby for the second straight year. Dave, who is also the Wolves Den leader, said Airyanna is usually at the den and pack meetings. He said the Cub Scouts is a "family-oriented" organization that wants to include members of the Scouts' families. "Family is important," he said. "We don't try to leave any family member out." Dave said Airyanna gets excited this time of year when the derby arrives. On Wednesday af ternoon, Dave showed Airyanna and his 8-year-old son, Joey, and fellow Wolves Den Scout Aarron Thompson, also 8, how to smooth down the burrs on the axles using a drill and sandpaper. Dave said it's important to smooth down the axles and Wheels to keep the materials' imperfections from slowing down the cars during the race. The young trio huddled around their leader as he continued showing them some of the tricks of the trade. Last year, Airyanna made a "Groovy Girls" turquoise, yellow and purple car with a lady bug sticker placed on the car's front. Her car was the slowest car in the derby, however, she did take home a Best of Show District trophy for her creativity with her car. This year she is determined to be the fastest on the track with her "Cherry Bomb," which looks like a tube of lipstick. "I thought it looked like a crayon at first, but once I painted it and wrote Cherry Bomb on it, it didn't look like a crayon any more," she said. "(The derby) is fun because you get to build (the cars) yourself, paint them yourself, watch them run down the track and cheer for them." Dave said that siblings who are not Cub Scouts, parents and leaders can enter the open-class Bad Boys competition. The Bad Boys follow the same rules in the construction of their cars as Scouts do in the regular derby. Joey will also compete in the derby for the second time. Last year, he created a blue, red and yellow car he called "The 64th Car." He even attached a metal driver to his dragon-hooded vehicle. He took home Overall Best of Show and third-place district trophies. He also won second place and first place at the Tiger Cubs Pinewood Derby. This year he painted a grey, turquoise, black and red car he calls "The Drill Corvette" because of its pointednose. "(The derby) is so fun because you get to race your Pinewood Derby car," he said. Racing is fun for Joey, but it's the actual building of the car that he enjoys the most. "You can do it yourself and your parents can help you," he said. Dave said the derby teaches scouts lifelong skills. "It shows them the spirit of cooperation and sportsmanship, and it gives them a sense of pride because they can build (the cars) themselves," he said. The scouts will gather near the front entrance of the Holiday Village Mall next to a two- to six-lane wooden track that slopes downward. Pack 4426 is comprised of the Tigers, Wolves, Bears and Webelos dens. Cub Master Angela Twombly said the derby will be exciting for all of the district's Cub Scouts. "We encourage all of the scouts in the district to go to the derby," Twombly said. "It's a lot of fun." Dave agrees and hopes that the community will stop by to watch the races. "We appreciate the community buying all of our popcorn, and we hope that they can come and watch our boys race," he said.