NUTLEY, NJ - With one click, lighting fast wheels sped down the incline and the John H. Walker Middle School gymnasium was transformed into a racetrack again for the Nutley Cub Scout Pack 141 annual Pinewood Derby Friday, Jan. 27. The pack is sponsored by the Masonic Temple of Nutley.
The derby, sponsored again this year by Kearny Collision, is a chance for fathers and sons, as well as grandfathers, to bond. “Scouts and fathers work together to build the cars. If you never remember anything else you always remember the pinewood derby,” said Cub Scouts Pack 141 Chairman Walt Smith.
Tiger Scout Sean Clinton, 6, and his dad, Craig worked on a Superman theme car. “It was a good bonding experience,” said Craig Clinton.
Tiger Scout Leader Mike Peters and his son, Sean, 6, created a Batman Batmobile Pinewood. “It’s a lot of fun to build. The cars are different every time, superhero themes are popular this year,” Mike said. “The kids are all excited tonight,” he added.
The car is built from a block of wood. Cars should weigh about five ounces and if they are underweight the scouts are allowed to mount coins to them.
“It’s a slow process to build, takes weeks. There is sanding and rough wood work and painting. Each year as they [scouts] get older they need less help and by fifth grade they are basically on their own,” he explained.
A total of 50 boys participated in the derby and 34 of the scouts performed in the main event. “The Pack is made up of Dens. Tigers are in first grade, Wolves are in second grade, Bears are in third grade, Webelos 1 are in fourth grade, Webelos 2 are in fifth grade. This year is there is a new Cub Scout Den for kindergarten boys called the Lions, consisting of 16 scouts. We held a separate heat for them to race before the "main" event,” explained Cubmaster Maggie Callahan.
Every scout who participated received a race medal. Two sets of trophies were given to the children. The first set of winners were by category. Wolf Scout Jack Teifert received Best in Show, Funniest car went to Tiger Scout Daniel Ogonowski and Webelos 1 Scout Luke Costantino earned Most Scout Spirit.
The fastest car reached a speed of 238.36 mph, crafted by Wolf Scout Aayush Patel. Bear Scout Aidan Fu earned second place with a speed of 237.68 mph. Wolf Scout Nick Buset placed third in the heat with a speed of 236.25 mph.
According to Smith the scouts have been holding the Pinewood for about 15 years in Nutley.
“The track was wooden until two years ago when Scout Leader Chris Lorent researched the best track for the Pack and finalized the purchase through donations,” said Callahan. “The new track is made of aluminum, as the old wood track was long overdue for replacement,” she added.
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