My Tiger Scout had his first Pinewood Derby experience recently. And not having had any cub scout experience before, we had no idea what to expect. So, to the internet I went trying to figure out what to do. There are many posts on how to create a super fast car, how to paint it, and the like. After countless hours searching for ideas and answers, we decided to just let our scout design his own car. After all, it was suppose to be his creation anyway. Right? He happily came up with his own sketch on top of a tracing of the block.
After baking it per instructions, my husband carefully cut it out with a circular saw. You use what you have available right? It got the job done, thought it was not the most sleek or pretty. Our scout did not care. He was excited to see it all cut out in the simple shape of a jet that he drew. We sanded it down and tried to get as much of the ruff edges off. My cheap wood chisels help with that some.
Then it came time to paint it. After carefully dissuading him from painting it yellow with a red stripe, he chose blue with a red stripe and orange sides. We talked about how much fun we were having making the car together and that it didn’t matter if he won or lost the races. I wanted this to be a happy experience for him, no matter the outcome. We taped up his car to paint the different colors on it, and painted a couple coats of each color on it. Sister made one too.
It was time for the race day. Adding pennies to the weights to bring it up to the required 5 oz, we waited for the races to begin. The Tigers went first and our cub was in the first race. I think I was more nervous than he was! I wanted his car to do good, but hoped our talk would help him see that playing is fun no matter if you win or lose. Well, he came in second in his first heat! He continually came in second in his other heats too. He was so excited!
When all the heats were over, it was time for the awards. And in third place for the Tiger cubs was our little cub. I was so happy for him! He definitely had the most homemade looking car up there. And I was glad that he got to make the car he wanted and not worry too much about winning speed just yet. Next year he can use what he learned and maybe design a faster car, if he wants to.
We’d love to hear about your first pinewood derby experience too! Take a moment if you will, and share about your cubs first race day. Happy racing!