A Coummunity Evening: Watch the Pinewood Derby

Boy Sout Race Kit. Taken from BSA 114’s Facebook page.

Fort Scott Cub Pack 114 is having its annual Pinewood Derby on Saturday, Feb. 12  from 6-9 p.m. at Memorial Hall, Third Street and National Avenue.

This year to beef up community attendance, Scoutmaster Seth Needham is hosting a Corporate Pinewood Derby.

Tiger Den Scouts receiving awards for the 2021 Pinewood Derby. Scouts from left to right: Robert Needham. Payton Golden. Max Petrillo. Submitted photos.
Winners from each den in the 2021 scout derby. From left: Robert Needham. James Gooderl, Allison Moore, Charlie Widder, Emory Ellis.  Submitted photos.

“It will be a night of fun and racing,” Needham said. “The Pinewood Derby is an annual scout event where we design, build, and race pinewood derby cars,” Needham, said. “Pinewood Derby cars are small-scale cars made from wooden blocks, carved and cut for unique designs, and then raced down a special track. They are powered 100% by gravity, so the design is very important, and something the scouts work hard on.”

Needham decided to make this year’s race a community event because the scouts do work so hard on their cars.
“I wanted the community to have a chance to come and cheer them on,” he said. “The scouts give back a lot to the community through various projects, so it’s nice to have an event that can bring the community out to see them.”
“The corporate race is open to local businesses and organizations,” he said. “So far, I have about 10 different businesses signed up, and they are all really excited. Also, the sheriff’s office and the city of Fort Scott will have cars entered.”
Key Apparel is sponsoring the derby by providing prizes for the fastest cars, and best designs, he said.
The corporate derby has a cost of $25 that includes one derby car kit, registration for the race, and one meal ticket, he said. Extra meal tickets are $10. Companies can register more than one car, too. 
1st and 2nd place will be awarded for both categories, and the prizes are $150 and $100 gift certificates to purchase items online from Key Apparel.
“The design contest will be judged by a panel of judges,” Needham said. “Currently, Lindsay Madison from the Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Kevin “Skitch” Allen, and Kelley Zellner, city manager, are our judges.”
Dinner will be served at 6 p.m. for race contestants and their guests.
 Each company that registers gets one meal ticket, and extra meal tickets are available for $10.
“If people want to come and just watch the race, we will charge $5 entry,” he said “All proceeds will go directly to Cub Scout Pack 114.”
“I decided to do the derby as a fundraiser because so many people have fond memories of these races when they were scouts,” he said. “Anytime scouts are brought up in conversation, the first thing people want to talk about is their experience with the pinewood derby.”
Robert Needham testing the track at the 2021 Pinewood Derby. Submitted photos.

The Corporate Pinewood Derby

“Area companies are invited to design and decorate a car, race, and have dinner with the scouts,” he said. “You can be as creative as you want with the design of your car, as long as it complies with the official scout pinewood derby rules.”

The cost to compete in the Corporate Derby is $25 per car, and each registration will include the following:

  • 1 BSA approved Pinewood Derby Car Kit
  • 1 dinner ticket
  • Area to display your car and company literature before and after the race.
  • Features on our Facebook page.

Agenda for the Event

Check-in will begin at 5 p.m. with the official scout races starting at 6 p.m., and company races will start immediately after.

Dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. Additional meal tickets can be purchased for $10 before the event, or $15 the night of the event.

Please make checks payable to BSA Pack 114.

Key Apparel has donated gift certificates with prizes from their business website, which is www.keyapparelstore.com

Prizes will be awarded for the following categories.

  • Speed: 1st place $150, 2nd place $100
  • Design: 1st place $150, 2nd place $100.

If your business would like to register, please contact Needham at (620) 215 6934, or send an email to [email protected]

“Upon registration and payment, you will receive your pinewood derby car kit and a copy of the rules,” he said. “Also, be sure to follow BSA Pack 114 on Facebook for tips and tricks that you can use to make your car faster.”

Needham provided the rules of the derby:

RULES FOR BUILDING YOUR PINEWOOD DERBY CAR

BSA’s Pinewood Derby Car Building Rules

All cars must pass the following inspection to qualify for the race:

  1. Width shall not exceed 2-3/4 inches.
  2. Length shall not exceed 7 inches.
  3. Weight shall not exceed 5 ounces.
  4. Axles, wheels, and bodies shall be from the materials provided in the kit.
  5. Wheel bearings, washers, and bushings are prohibited.
  6. No lubricating oil may be used. Axles may be lubricated with powdered graphite or silicone.
  7. The car shall not ride on any kind of spring.
  8. The car must be free-wheeling, with no starting devices.
  9. No loose materials of any kind are allowed in the car.
  10. A double-elimination method is used to determine the winner.

This method uses a “winner’s bracket” system that begins with every car filling one spot. At the end of each heat, the winning car advances to the next level of the winner’s bracket while the other cars are entered in the loser’s bracket. Those cars then race against one another, with the winners of each heat advancing. The final car of each of the two brackets competes with the other for first place.

 Each judge will give each car a score of 1-10, with 10 being the best. The car with the highest score wins.

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