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Half Moon Bay and Montara Cub Scouts Compete in Pinewood Derby

The annual event — held this year at the Half Moon Bay Fire Station — is more than just a race.

The Cub Scout Pinewood Derby is a rite of spring. Every year, Cub Scouts all over the world take a block of pine wood, four nails and four plastic wheels and transform them into stylized racing machines. Then, in friendly competition, they race them down a standardized track powered only by gravity.

Cub Scout Packs 255 from Montara and 263 from Half Moon Bay combine to run the annual Derby. This year's derby was held on March 27 at the fire station in Half Moon Bay. Awards are given in several categories, with the overall heat winner taking home the 1st place trophy. Top prizes were awarded to Joey Cornelison for Pack 255 and Ryan Hildebrand for Pack 263.

There's much more to the Pinewood Derby than winning the trophy, though. The scouts are required to create the cars themselves, but teamwork and collaboration are useful skills to learn. The scouts also conduct some research to determine how to construct the car. Sportsmanship in competition, craftsmanship and imagination all translate to real life in many important ways. And the derby is truly  a family event as siblings can enter in a special family category. The scout's entire family are welcome to attend the event and cheer for their favorites. Praise and encouragement are handed out liberally.

Graham Hurrell, Den 1 leader for Pack 263, said "... the idea is to practice the scouting spirit and give our boys an opportunity to demonstrate the virtues of good sportsmanship. Also it is great to see parents cheering for their both their cubs and celebrating the success of their pack-mates."

This event brought back fond memories for me of my Pinewood Derby days as well as the lessons learned. I hope the accompanying pictures and video demonstrate the teamwork and excitement of the event.

The Scouts all thanked the Half Moon Bay Fire Department which hosted the event in the fire house.

Presiding over the Derby for Pack 263 were Cub Master Mark McGregor and Committee Chair Amy Ramsey from Half Moon Bay. Montara (Pack 255) leaders were Cub Master Bill Baron and Committee Chair Jim Berkey.

Stay tuned for a video of the event, click here.

Alex Kimmel April 04, 2011 at 07:40 PM
The cars look amazing. Well done. 30 years ago I helped our son with his pine wood derby entry. And I know how much effort it took back then to build one. But they never came out looking this good............great job
Camden Swita April 04, 2011 at 09:12 PM
Ah, I remember these days. My father and I built cars that made us regional champs three years in a row. Some tips: Load the axle hole with powdered graphite. This'll give you quite a bit more speed. I don't know if this is still the case, but oftentimes the axles that are provided in the pinewood derby kits have imperfections that might rub against the chassis and slow the car down. Take a metal file and get rid of those. The same goes for the inside of the plastic wheels; sometimes there will be "nubs" from where molten plastic was injected into the mold. File those off. Lastly, weight always goes in front and don't mess with flashy spoilers or anything. You don't want the drag.
Stuart Nafey April 04, 2011 at 11:59 PM
This was a fun event to cover and it brought back fond memories for me too.
Kristine Wong April 05, 2011 at 12:57 AM
It made me wish that I had made a car for a pinewood derby...never mind that I wasn't even a scout growing up. We'll be posting video of the derby soon.
Marguerite Nafey April 05, 2011 at 01:15 AM
Wow. 40 pictures of a great event. Reminds me of the days I was a Den Mother. Was a special time for me. Your photo's prove how enjoyable scouting can be. Your article should be used to promote more Scout recruits.

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