Daily Archives: February 25, 2009

Grand Prix Pinewood Derby Scout-style

I was a boy scout when I was a kid, but I don’t remember a whole lot about it. I remember going to pack meetings a couple of streets over from my house when we lived in Horn Lake…and I remember going camping at one of the dams in N. Mississippi, probably Arkabutla because it was closer; but the only thing I really remember about that camping trip was that it rained on us so hard that in the middle of the night, I got up with my tent-mate and we beat on the inside of our tent to make a flap come down that was on the outside—because the rain was coming inside. Didn’t matter, as when I woke up early the next morning, our suitcases were floating in water at the foot of our sleeping bags (we were on a small incline).

What I don’t remember is pinewood derby cars. At all.

Therefore, I’m inclined to believe that I never participated in one.

For a while, I thought soapbox derby and pinewood derby were the same thing. Nope, not so. I googled it! Pinewood derby cars are like those held by my son Brett in the picture to the right. Soapbox (not the kind you stand and preach on) cars are big enough for the kids to actually sit in. They’re go-carts without the motors. We made them as kids, but our inspiration was down in South Mississippi was the Little Rascals; they had the coolest contraptions!

So I had a lot of fun in this pinewood derby experience. Brett had designed a “body” for his car and some of the Dads brought their wood-working tools and cut out the shapes for the scouts. (No, my computer isn’t much help in pinewood except for maybe researching cool pinewood car images!) After some time, Brett painted the car and I helped him with the wheels…and that was the only thing I really did.

As we were waiting in line for the official weigh-in, I overheard one of the Dads say they’d done more work on the car than their son had. And while I’m sure that was just a bit of exaggerating, I was surprised to see that some of the cars did indeed look as if Pops had done the car for son.

Brett’s car was severely under weight, so we were able to add some fishing weights some fore-thinking dad brought. You can’t see it very well in the picture to the left (Brett’s car is in lane 4, closest to us, ready for the race), but we taped the weights to the front of the car. And, for the first time, his car did well: out of 4 heats, he took 3rd, 3rd, 2nd, and 2nd. At least “I” thought it was good.

The day ended with races of non-scouts, an event for parents and siblings. I’ve already decided that it looks fun enough that I think I’ll enter a car and race next year. J

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