The race is on

Building pinewood car is family project for Cub Scouts at annual derby

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
While the Cub Scouts/Boy Scouts held their Pinewood Derby, the Girl Scouts were selling cookies also in the Crossroads Mall. Here Sonia Sandvig, left, and Brielle Crouch help Morrison Olson, age 2, pick out her favorite box of cookies.

Getting to Sunday’s Pinewood Derby takes a lot of elbow grease for Cub Scouts like Jesse Foster.

Foster entered with the help of his dad and grandpa, but he didn’t rely on them too much.

“We took it over to grandpa’s house. Him and grandpa cut it out with the skill saw,” said Foster’s dad John King. “He did pretty much all of it himself. I was really proud of him.”

The Twin Lakes District Pinewood Derby was held Sunday at the Crossroads Mall, and brought in Cub Scouts and their families from across a six-county area.

“There are about 11 Cub Scout packs here,” said Zac Felch, district executive. “Last night we had more than 60 kids pre-register. I’m not sure how many walk-ins we’ve had.

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
District Executive Zac Felch, left, hands back the third wooden car to Casey Wheeler for this heat in the Pinewood Derby Sunday afternoon. Cub Scouts from six counties came to the District event, which also featured heats for older Boy Scouts, younger siblings, and a race for the adults.

“There will be a lot of racing today.”

This was Foster’s second year making a car.

“I came up with the plan to try to make the air go up over it, and then I was thinking of a motor,” Foster said. “So I made the car look like a wedge with a motor, but the motor was too fat so I took most of it off.”

Nathan Clark, of Humboldt, was there with his parents and siblings, who all got to compete thanks to the sibling race and the adult race.

“We’ve got one for me, for my wife and for my two daughters,” said his dad, Brody Clark.

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Andrew Bachman, right, reacts as one of the first heats flies down the track. Looking on, from left, are Adrianna McCusker and Aianna Kirby.

That family togetherness is a lot more important than who can make a five-ounce block of pinewood zip down a ramp the fastest.

“It gives the kids and parents time together during the building process,” said Brody Clark, who is also Cub Master for Humboldt’s Pack 33. “The whole point is to spend time and do a project with your son. With your scout.

“There are certain things you do to make that car — your 8-year-old can’t pick up a saw,” he added. “You have cars the scout mostly built himself, and you have some that were built mostly by dad with the scout’s help.”

In Humboldt, the school helps with the process, Brody Clark said. Scouts and their parents come into the school shop to use the woodworking tools and shape the car.

They also set up the track the night before the derby, so the kids can make test runs and do a little fine-tuning.

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Nathan Clark, of Humboldt, gets a hand with his uniform from his dad Brody Clark before the Twin Lakes District Pinewood Derby begins. Brody and his wife also entered cars in the adult category.

The track may be even busier in the future, said Felch, as a big change in scouting takes effect locally.

“We are going to start recruiting girls this year,” Felch said. “That’s a huge change. It’s going to be a big transition.”

Some Girl Scouts were also at the mall Sunday, selling their famous cookies just around the corner from the track.

Sometimes building those cars requires a little flexibility, according to second-grader Wyatt Lahr, of Callender.

“Mine’s the Griswold station wagon” from the National Lampoon movie, Lahr said. “I wanted it to turn out like a Bugatti.”

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Boy Scout Ignatius Kirby, seventh grade, helps line up the cars and make sure they’re all registered properly before the Twin Lakes District Pinewood Derby at the Crossroads Mall Sunday.

In spite of Lahr’s sportier design plan, after the car had been cut, it came back looking more like the Griswold’s car, he said, so he just went with it.

He talked about some of the ways to make it speedy.

“You want heavy in the front, and a lot of graphite on your wheels,” he said.

Twin Lakes District Pinewood Derby results

Tiger Class

(1st Grade)

1st — Jayden Miller

2nd — Callan Proctor

3rd — Cooper Marvin

Wolf Class

(2nd Grade)

1st — Landon Lyon

2nd — Benjamin Wanat

3rd — Drake Hayes

Bear Class

(3rd Grade)

1st — Nathan Clark

2nd — Jackson Bass

3rd — Keaton Trask


(4th Grade)

1st — Andrew Bachman

2nd — Nathaniel Spencer

3rd — Jaden Clute

Arrow of Light

(5th Grade)

1st — Aiden Hagge

2nd — Connor Proctor

3rd — Johnny Valentine

Boy Scouts (6th Grade up to 18 Years Old)

1st — Ignatius Kirby

Overall Scout


Landon Lyon


1st — Charlotte Niemand

2nd — Bristol Trask

3rd — Elle Clark


1st — Jeff Lyon

2nd — Joshua Bass

3rd — Melanie Clark