Archive for Wednesday, January 23, 2002

Cub Scouts ake to the track in their annual pinewood derby competition

January 23, 2002

Racing at speeds of five miles per hour may not seem fast, but when it's a pinewood derby racer, watching it run down the track is half the fun.

The other half is designing and creating the car.

Thirty-seven Cub Scouts from Basehor and Glenwood Ridge elementary schools, and their many fans packed the Basehor-Linwood Education Service Center gymnasium Thursday, Jan. 17, for Pack 3169's annual pinewood derby.

"The days of letting kids go to town (carving their own cars) are over," Cub Master Glen Maughmer said. "The cars have definitely gotten more intricate over the years."

The cars are standard pinewood derby racers that are built from kits. Each kit comes with an 8-inch block of wood, four nails and four plastic wheels.

The event has become a father-son affair with dads helping their sons build some elaborately designed cars.

"It was a lot of fun," said Tim Williams, who helped his son, Dustin, build his first pinewood derby racer dubbed, "Wonder Iron Kids Bread."

The Williams spent several hours carving and sanding the car, which has 18 coats of white paint and a Wonder Iron Kids Bread logo on the hood (See photo of car at top of story).

Racers can cut the wood into different designs and add metal weights to the racers. However, the cars have to meet specific weight parameters.

Graphite dust can be applied to the car's wheels to lessen friction on the tract. However, the dusting can be a messy situation.

Although it helped many of the cars go faster, several of the scouts had it on their hands, clothes and face by the end of the night.

Yet, it did not stop the scouts from having a good time.

"They really do enjoy this," Maughmer said. "This and camp are the two highlights of the whole year."

Maughmer said the Pack built a new track with an aluminum surface for this year's event. The track was upgraded with an electrical mechanism that lowers the starting levers, releasing the cars down the track.

There were more than 100 races by the end of the night, with Eric Bentley's car finishing in first place. Bentley was unable to attend the race, but he had his cousin enter his car for him.

Jessie Hiss finished second, but he received top honors for having the best-designed racer. George Davis took third place, and David Hershy received the consolation prize.

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