Scouts from Kennebec Valley District race Pinewood Derby

Mon, 04/15/2024 - 5:00pm

VASSALBORO — The annual Scouting district Pinewood Derby races were held at the Vassalboro Community School where Cubs raced blocks of wood they carved and decorated into racecars down a long metal track. Some garnered trophies for speed. Others won accolades for design. All were winners, however, because spending time working on the car with a parent was the best prize of all.

Ira Michaud is the Principal of the Vassalboro Community School which hosted the race on April 6. He is also Cubmaster of Damariscotta Pack 213. Michaud welcomed families and Cubs to the school for the Kennebec Valley District Pinewood Derby, The Pinewood Derby is a fun Cub Scout racing event held in many packs. During the event, Cub Scouts race small, driverless wooden cars down a sloped track. The cars are powered only by gravity. With an adult’s help, each Pinewood Derby car is built by a Cub Scout using a kit that includes a wooden block, plastic wheels and metal axles. Trophies or medals are often awarded for the fastest car and the best designs. Winners at the pack level move on to the district level. Kennebec Valley District covers Somerset, Franklin, Lincoln, Knox and Kennebec counties.

"These are all Scouts who from within their local Pack placed really well with racing their cars at their Pack's race and have moved up to the district level," said Michaud, in a news release.

He described it as one of the biggest and most exciting events of the Cub Scout year.

"The Cubs worked with an adult in their life to create the cars that they are really proud of and raced today,” said Michaud. “They could compete for speed or for Best in Show. It is really great to see so many Scouts from all over the state here today." 

Julie McKenney of Belgrade, Kennebec Valley District Activities Chair, ran the event with a team of volunteer Scouters.

"It is a lot of work," she said. "But incredibly fun. We had some hiccups with the computer software but I think all of the Scouts had a good time and they demonstrated good sportsmanship which is one of the real goals of the activity."

"Me and my dad made a tank. It took us a long time to make it," said Kamden Conant.

Kamden is a Lion Cub Scout in Pack 585 in Farmington. Lions are Kindergarten students. During the registration process, the Cubs show their cars to volunteers who inspect to make sure they are not overweight, over long, using unapproved parts, etc. If so, adjustments can be made so they are in compliance before the race starts.

"The hardest part was painting the car," said Timothy Bourdelais, of Gardiner, who made an American-flag theme car with his mom. He said it took three days to make the car out of the block of wood he was given. He is an Arrow of Light rank Cub Scout in Pack 672.

Dillon Callister, of Sidney, has only been a member of Cub Scout Pack 454 for half a year but has enjoyed making his first Pinewood Derby car.

Some of these Scouts will be able to race in the Pine Tree Council level derby coming up at the end of April at Camp Hinds in Raymond.