Cub Scouts race homemade cars

VIENNA – The Grand Central Mall was filled to near capacity Saturday for the 42nd annual Davis Anderson Memorial Cub Scout Pinewood Derby Allohak Council Championships.

The all-day derby began at 10 a.m. with almost 500 boys racing homemade cars on five tracks throughout the mall.

“There are 348 kids pre-registered, which is down a little for us in recent years,” said Dale Musgrave, Scout executive with the Boy Scouts of America Allohak Council. “There were more than 450 boys last year, but this is great.”

The Mayors and Area Dignitaries/Celebrities Race participated in their own contest at noon near the Center Court.

“This is the first time I have participated and it has been a blast,” said Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell.

Belpre Mayor Mike Lorentz echoed his fellow politician’s sentiments.

“This has been a blast,” Lorentz said.

Vienna City Councilman Jim Miracle filled in for Mayor Randy Rapp, who was unable to attend the derby.

“It has been a great time, but next year, I’m making my own car,” Miracle insisted.

This year, Pack 91 made a special car to honor their former master Chris Taylor, a Hi Vac employee who passed away last fall.

“I am honored and proud when I heard about the car,” said his wife, Kathy Taylor. “For Chris, Scouts was his life and I think he is very pleased with what they have done for him.”

Throughout the day, officers with the Vienna Police Department also gave “speeding tickets” to some of the racers.

“The Scouts come for the fun of it all and it’s interesting to see how they grow over the years as they go from telling the adults what they want to actually doing it themselves,” said Musgrave. “Through the pinewood derby they mature and learn a lot of skills they can use in other areas of life.”

Pinewood derby racing requires participants to learn the crafts necessary to make the cars, the derby rules that must be followed in the car making, the racing process and, most important, sportsmanship. This has to do with how the Scout acts and behaves while participating in the derby.

The model cars are made of wood to specified dimensions, created, carved, assembled, and decorated by Cub Scouts under the guidance of their parents or helpers. All Scouts are required to build a new car each year. On race day, the cars were weighed, measured and inspected to confirm that the race rules have been followed.

The council has specified dimensions and weight requirements that help the boys’ math skills, derby chairperson Kathy Anderson Wise said. “The idea is to help them learn new skills and win or lose good sportsmanship.

“Boys will come away from here with a sense of satisfaction that ‘I may not have won, but I had a good time participating,'” Wise said. “Our main goal is for everybody to have fun.”

The races are not just about winning, but also how to be a good winner and loser and more importantly, about having fun, said Wise. The purpose of the Pinewood Derby is to help the Cub Scout build a team relationship with their parent or helper, experience the sense of accomplishment, learn new skills, the excitement of competition, learn win or lose good sportsmanship, and to have fun.

“The purpose is to work with an adult on the car,” Musgrave said. “In the end, the boy has learned a lot of skills and maybe has a different perspective on that parent or helper.”

The Allohak Council serves 17 counties in West Virginia and Ohio. The Allohak Council earned the prestigious National Centennial Quality Council Award for the National Council, Boy Scouts of America for membership growth, quality programs and fiscal soundness, a distinction that the Allohak Council has earned for the three consecutive years.

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