WINONA -- For the second year in a row, J.J. Evans’s Pinewood car took first place at Winona Cub Scout Troop 4039’s annual Pinewood Derby, edging out Ben Rosamond’s car by a nose. Liam Green finished with third place honors.
Evans’s hand-crafted car, a long, thin rectangle, beat out more than a dozen cars for this year’s top prize in a double-elimination derby held at the Troop 4039 Hut in downtown Winona. Along with the participating Cub Scouts, parents and supporters filled the building to cheer on their favorite racers.
According to Ken Rosamond, a longtime supporter, and leader of Troop 4039, Scouts fashioned their cars from pine wood, with specifications on axel width and weight.“ Each is made from a block of wood,” Rosamond said. “They have to remain the same axel width, but it has to weigh five ounces or less. You can get as creative as you like.” Troop leaders held workshops at the Scout Hut to help Scouts, and their fathers, cut wood into specific designs dreamed up by the Scouts.
The Pinewood Derby was conceived by a Cub Master in Manhattan Beach, Calif., in 1953. According to PinewoodPro.com, a site that sells Pinewood car kits, Don Murphy created the event to provide an activity for fathers and sons to participate in together. Murphy wanted something he could share with his 10-year-old son, who was too young to race in the Soap Box Derby, which requires the Scout to drive a handmade car down a hill.
Therefore, the Pinewood Derby was born and has become a regular activity of the Cub Scouts of America. The Derby involves racing the handmade miniature cars down a 31-foot track. Troop 4039 Scoutmaster Tim Ansley facilitated facing at the starting line, putting the race in motion by a lever that released the cars down a steep incline before hitting a flat straight-away to the finish line. The cars’ makers cheered their vehicles on behind a padded wall.
Officiating Monday night’s race were Eagle Scouts James Armstrong and Webb Blakely. In addition to their duties calling each heat, Armstrong and Blakely judged the cars for nine special awards. David Watson was awarded Most Original Design; Dalton Mills received Fastest Looking Car; Liam Green won Best Paint Job; Ja’Von Phillips received Most Realistic Design; Best Design went to Fisher Hunt; Lee Miles won Funniest Car; Ben Rosamond’s car got Most Modified; Raylan McGee’s car got Least Modified, and Kaden McKinney and Dean Ferguson won Judges Choice. As the judges decided on the winners of the special awards, several Scout dads raced their own Pinewood Derby cars – competing against each other and their Scouts. A few siblings also created their own cars.“ As you can see, the dads get into it so much, they even make their own cars,” Rosamond said.