BY JURRY TAALIB-DEEN
Journal Staff Writer
A record crowd gathered in front of a wooden race tract to cheer their favorite driver on to victory.
Drivers casually talked to each other and gave their car a last minute look over to ensure it would give him the victory he desired.
Some of the competitors would win a trophy for best designed car but all pursued the first place trophy that they could boastfully hoist over their head in victory.
Drivers were then instructed to line their vehicle at the top of a 45-degree hill where their cars would race down the track to the finish line.
Finally, when all three cars were released at the exact same time, their designers, boys as young as 7, watched as their car raced toward the finish line.
The Boy Scouts of America sponsored its second Pinewood Derby on Saturday, Feb. 16, at Glenwood Elementary on Glenwood. According to event planners, it had the largest crowd in attendance in recent years.
Eugene Washington, Boy Scouts program specialist, said the event is held twice a year on different sides of town making it easy for parents who may have transportation problems.
The boys receive a block of wood weeks in advance to shape it into a car, attach wheels and paint it any color they choose.
“The Pinewood Derby gives boys the opportunity to do what they really like and that’s being active at creating something with their hands,” Washington said.
Khalfani Rice, district executive for Scout Reach, said designing cars help nurture future engineering skills.
“It’s good seeing the boys start, finish and implement a project,” he said.
Ahmad Dari, 7, who won second place, said he enjoyed himself.
He said he enjoyed designing and racing his car. But his main enjoyment was painting his car.
Gunner Penrod, 8, has participated in the Pinewood Derby for two years. And the one word adjective he used to sum up how he feels about the event was “fun.”
Two first place winners included: Malik Hamret, 10, and Thomas Ziegler, 8.
Ziegler not only engineered his car which bore soccer balls on it, because it’s his favorite sport but, it had a couple of pennies attached to the hood to give it more speed on its decent.
Mark Urrutia, vice-president for Scout Reach for the Boy Scout Council, said the Pinewood Derby originated in the early 1950s by a cub master. At the time, older boys designed and raced soap box cars, which were made from wood and soap boxes.
The younger cub scouts were too young to compete in the soap box Derby, giving birth to the Pinewood Derby.