Copper car Best in Show
It was a tense moment. The blue-shirted boys and their parents watched the digital scale as the numbers rose in increments. They held their breath.
The operator of the scale, Terry Olsen, assistant cubmaster of Cub Scout Troop 170, weighed the Pinewood Derby cars carefully. The boys had built the cars according to specifications, but many of them were weighing in lighter than the five ounces they were allowed. If the cars were too light, they wouldn’t have the downhill thrust they needed to win their heat and eventually the race.
The annual Nederland Chapter of the Pinewood Derby was held at the Nederland Community Center on Saturday, April 6. Fourteen young boys had hopes that their cars would win the big trophy and they could move on to the district derby.
First they had to get the weight to maximum to have the best chance. The parents searched their pockets for coins, going from quarters to pennies, gluing them to the body of the car and then reweighing it.
The race began, four cars to a heat, computer timed and recorded, with instant replay from a volley of cell phones. Each car was unique, some streamlined, like Hayden Zeman’s green racer, and some were ‘cool,’ like Ben’s army tank. One was a purple car with a yellow happy face by Townes Bakke and a Batmobile by Bashal Malle.
It was the maroon cruiser by Sorin Righly, though, that streaked past the field, heat after heat, to win the speed part of the race, no instant replay needed. Townes Bakke came in second. Clark’s Dart came in third and Hayden Zeman came in fourth.
The first place winners from each den were Den 1, Hayden Zeman; Den 2, Clark, and Den 3, Sorin Righly.
As a finale to the event, the Best of Show, the “coolest car of the race,” was chosen by the crowd. Each of the contestants and the parents and other family members were allowed to vote. The scouts chose the army tanker, and the rest of the crowd chose the shiny copper car by Tyler Rabourn in a majority vote.
Rabourn’s car and Righly’s car will go to the Council and then on to District competition. This is the 60th year of the pinewood derby, which began in California in 1963 and was a nationwide scout tradition two years later.
It was a riveting race, and the scouts accomplish their two goals: To do their best and to have fun.