Wheels spin at Pinewood Derby

by Daniel Bowden
Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Staff photo by Allison Potter 

Members of Cub Scout Pack 253 gather around Evensen Ross, seated left, and Hunter Rahe, seated right, as they compete for second and third place overall in the pack’s annual Pinewood Derby at Wrightsville United Methodist Church on Saturday, Feb. 9.

Tigers, Bears, Wolves, Weblos-1 and Weblos-2s of Boy Scout Pack 253 gathered at Wrightsville United Methodist Church on Feb. 9, for the annual Pinewood Derby.

“This is it,” said Jeff Biancomo. Biancomo and his wife, Ginger, had three boys — Joshua, Braden and Eathan — competing in the derby this year. “[Boy Scouts] starts with school, but the first week the kids are talking about the Pinewood Derby.”

The cars all start from a block of pine supplied by scout leaders. They are then cut down to the shape the scouts desire, sanded, weighted and painted. The one stipulation is that cars must weigh five ounces or less.

“The adults do most of the cutting and woodwork,” said Melissa Rahe, whose son, Hunter, placed third overall in the event. “The kids put the personality and finish work on the cars.”

On the day of the derby, cars raced four at a time down an almost 20-year-old four-lane wooden track. Each car raced in all four lanes to ensure fairness, and the winner was recorded electronically.

Parents and scouts whispered of several tricks to make cars run faster. Biancomo said adding a slight offset to the wheels would keep one a little off the track and reduce friction, which would get it to the bottom quicker. Tim Taylor, another scout parent, said the trick was to put graphite powder in the wheels to make them spin faster.

Scouts competed first against other members of their dens. Next, the fastest times from all of the dens competed against each other to determine the overall winners.

Winners were Tiger den first grader Trey Williams,Wolf den second grader Logan Legg, Bear den third grader Gavin Cazeault, Weblos-1 den fourth grader William Morgan and Weblos-2 den fifth grader Evenson Ross.

The overall winner for the pack was McCauley Hardison, who was not in attendance to see his car win. A tiebreaker was held between Evenson Ross and Hunter Rahe for the second place overall slot with Ross winning and Rahe placing third place.

The winners from each den will travel to Independence Mall later this spring to compete in the district’s tournament against other scout packs from around New Hanover, Pender and Brunswick counties.

email dan@luminanews.com

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