Story last updated at 1/30/2013 - 2:11 pm
The Juneau Area Cub Scout Pinewood Derby will be held Saturday, Feb. 2 at noon at the Nugget Mall. The race this Saturday is open any Cub Scout in Juneau and will determine the fastest three cars in town. Registration will start at 10:30 a.m.
The first Cub Scout pinewood derby was run in 1953. In the 60 years since, it is estimated that over 40 million fathers (mostly) and sons have participated in races. Millions more parents, den leaders, Cubmasters, and committee members have been involved in various ways.
What is a Pinewood Derby? A bunch of fun! At the end it is a Pack of Cub Scouts racing little wooden cars of various shapes and colors on little plastic wheels down a 32' plywood (or aluminum) track. Each Cub Scout gets a kit with a block of wood, four nails for axles, and four plastic wheels. Then, based on the rules, he shapes and paints his block of wood into a vehicle to race down the track. The track's start line is approximately. 5' high, and the track slopes down to the floor and levels off for the final 16' or so. The derby is run in heats-two to four cars starting by gravity from a standstill on a track and run down a ramp to a finish line unaided. In the old days two judges were used for scoring the finish, but we now have photo cells connected to a computer program to decide 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in each heat.
The five Cub Scout Packs in Juneau have run their individual derbies over the last three weeks.
Most Packs divide the Cub Scouts by age; Tiger, Wolf, Bear, and Webelos, and award a medal to the top three cars for each den. In addition there are often awards such as 'Most original,' and 'Best Paint Job' to give credit for creativity and effort. The culmination of this event is a grand finale championship with the top car of each den racing each other to determine the three fastest cars in the Pack.
The competition is fun and the race is exciting, but more important is the opportunity for the boys to work with their dads or other adults on a project from start to finish. Pinewood Derby is one of the highlights of the Cub Scout year, which also includes working on various awards, skits, songs, hikes, games, field trips and banquets. Cub Scout Packs meet at most of the elementary schools and are open to all boys in 1st through 5th grade. For more information you can come to the derby on Saturday or contact Kris Kearns, firstname.lastname@example.org, or check out scoutingalaska.org