News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Cub Scouts revel in Pinewood Derby

A few weeks prior, each scout had been tasked with designing and building their own derby car—with a few requirements. Each derby car had to weigh less than five ounces and be built mainly by the scout it belonged to. In reward for all their hard work, each scout received a medal, and could also win a trophy for best design or fastest car.

The excitement from the scouts was evident as they played with their derby cars and their friends while watching the official timer, Steve Hunt, finish setting up his track system and timer in the church’s Fireside Room.

Hunt said the four-lane ramp the scouts would use was about “33 feet, give or take a foot or two.”

It wasn’t just the scouts who were excited — the adults were, too. Cory Stengel and Risa Monroe — the den leader and committee chair of Pack 139 — had a lot to say about the kids they work with in the scout program, as well as the Pinewood Derby that evening. According to Stengel the derby is “the highlight of the Cubs’ year; a lot of work from the parents and kids culminates in this race.” Monroe felt similar, stating that “the scouts worked really hard, and seeing the joy on their faces as they get to race their cars, as well as the camaraderie in the pack, is amazing to watch.”

The Senior District Executive of the Crater Lake Council for Boy Scouts of America, Patrick Donohue, was also at the Pinewood Derby. Donohue said in regards to Den 139 and their derby cars that he’s “been to about eight races in Central Oregon this year, and they’re the best. Last year they had five scouts, now they’ve got 20. It’s because of Risa Monroe, the committee chair, and all that she’s given to the program.”

There were four initial heats in the derby that evening on the premise that each car needed to run at least one race on each lane of the four-lane ramp, in order to ensure that the cars did not win or lose as a result of the ramp and how it was set up. Each scout was overjoyed when it was their turn to be in lane one, as that meant it was their turn to push the button that opened the starting gates, in addition to racing their car.

After getting through the four initial heats, and some technical difficulties, there were a few more heats to narrow down the winners. Toward the end of the final heats, each scout could be heard giving their friends and fellow scouts congratulations when their car would win.

When it came time to award the three fastest cars and three best designs their trophies, the scout leaders first took a moment to give every scout a medal for their hard work on their derby car. Medals were also given to the friends of the scouts who participated that evening, as well as a trophy to friend of the scouts, Bella Henry for having the fastest derby car of all of the scouts’ friends.

The awards for “Best Designed Derby Car” were voted on at dinner by the parents of the scouts. The first-place trophy for Best Designed Derby Car went to Ryder Cretsinger, a kindergarten Lion Scout. Second place for best design went to Henry Neal, also a kindergarten Lion Scout, and third place went to Weston Bilderbeck, a first-grade Tiger Scout.

The third-place trophy for Fastest Derby Car went to Tristan Harry, a fourth-grade Webelo Scout. Second place went to Jonas Oschwald, a second-grade Wolf Scout, and first place went to Eeben Gold, a first-grade Tiger Scout.

When asked about his favorite part of building his derby car, Gold said he liked picking the design and shape of his car, which featured an enchanted sword from the popular video game Minecraft. Agreeing with Stengel’s statement, Gold said his favorite thing about being a scout so far was “racing the derby cars and getting to win a trophy.”

Regardless of whether or not the scout went home with a trophy Friday evening, each scout could be heard complimenting their fellow scouts’ derby cars for their speed and design as they left the Fireside Room to head home — the camaraderie Monroe mentioned before very evident amongst them.


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