The Pinewood Derby
by Ed Henderson
The Pinewood Derby is perhaps the
single most recognizable annual event in Cub Scouting and many other youth groups. Every
year over a million families design and race these creations in meeting halls throughout
the country. These races are not just used in the Boy Scouts, as other youth groups such
as: Awana Grand Prix, Royal Rangers, Christian Service Brigade have all adopted the
Pinewood Derby race as an anticipated event.
Some Boy Scout Summer Camps have a special "Almost anything
goes" Pinewood Derby race for Adult Leaders during the week. Thunder Scout
Reservation in Georgia is just one camp that over the years has had adult leaders
"get help from their scouts" for some outlandish entries. They report one entry
had to be disallowed when one leader tried to use a model rocket engine to
"launch" his car down the track, hence the name "Almost" anything
The Pinewood Derby also has a serious side. Many D.A.R.E. programs are
adopting the race in schools as a way of reaching out to elementary school kids with a fun
activity as they design the fastest police car to catch the bad guys. Among the web pages
we have found, were several that dealt with well presented Science Fair exhibits. When one
considers all of the dynamics and physics involved in creating the perfect race car, it is
not surprising that more than a few blue ribbons have been awarded for Pinewood Derby
Several enterprising District race directors turned their Pinewood Derby
into a major commercial success as they moved their race to a Mall or Car
Dealership. Some even have separate corporate races or have corporate sponsorships
for the cars. We came across other events around the country that had race clinics where
woodworking professionals and high tech equipment were made available to all scouts.
Thus, they not only learned to make their own cars, but, did so in a safe environment.
In this collection of Web Pages, we have gathered resources from dozens
of sites, on every aspect of the Pinewood Derby. There are also commercial links from
companies (many of who got their start as Cub leaders trying to design better ways of
operating this event) who can provide electronic scoring and finish line detecting, car
kit manufacturers, software, and race track plans as well as completed systems available
for purchase. There are even books & videos that have been produced to help with the
building & racing process. While SCOUTER.com does not endorse any of the commercial
offerings we provide all of them as a further resource for any Pack or District planning a
We also explored a number of Cub Pack Web Sites to find some good tips
on how Packs promote, and present this annual event to their members and to the public. We
especially you, as a visitor to this site to provide images of your Pinewood Derby cars.
You can save them on a web site of your own and submit the link to us, or send us your gif
image and we will place it on our site as a permanent exhibit and gallery of Pinewood
Derby cars from across the nation.
Have you had a great Pinewood Derby experience, idea or tip you want to share? Use the
comment form at the bottom of this page to tell us about it. If you have created
your own Pinewood Derby Web Page submit a link for it. We will add it to our
collection and tell the online Scouting community about it.
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