Cub Scouts rev it up at Pinebox Derby
It started off as a low growl, like distant thunder foretelling the arrival of a coming storm.
As the door to the Truckee Community Center swung open last Tuesday evening, the wave of sound grew even louder and more frantic.
Inside the auditorium, 22 race cars sat idling; ready to be unleashed upon the makeshift drag strip that had been setup inside.
The noise, however, was generated by the 27 frenzied Cub Scouts of Truckee Pack 734 who were running around – high off pizza and the thrill of racing – comparing paint jobs and other design details of the eight-inch wooden race cars laid out in the “pit area.”
The pinewood derby track, a 35-foot long, six-lane course, was set up near the stage area and spectators, parents and siblings of the racers, crowded around to watch the action.
Ten-year-old Cub Scout Andrew Littlefield stood by the pit area sizing up the competition and wondering if this would be his night.
Littlefield’s strategy: “Keep it with curves in it so it goes faster,” he said, adding that it would be a fun evening “because you get to race your cars and see other people’s designs and stuff.”
The racing was soon underway and 7-year-old Dude Manville quickly established himself as the racer to beat with his uniquely designed car.
Besides being a well-designed race car, Manville’s sleek white creation doubled as a working flute, a feat achieved with a little help from his father Guy.
“It’s won me first place every time,” Manville said, attributing his car’s success to the fact that “it has so many flexes, and that little hole [in the flute part].”
The best part, according to Manville, was that “we actually get to do it with our dads, because dads are more experienced in making stuff. “
Keeping everything running smoothly throughout the evening was Committee Chairman Mark Reynaud who had his hands full making sure all the scouts had the proper “drivers licenses” and got their cars to the pit area on time.
“This is one of our bigger events,” Reynaud said. “The boys really enjoy this – making the cars and racing them. So we usually get a good turnout here. We usually bring some pizza in for everybody and make it a family event. It’s pretty fun.”
Even the spectators were having a good time.
Linda Griffin, whose son Forrest was a member of the pack, said “This is one of the best things the Cub Scouts do. They get so excited about it and then they make their cars. It’s just a fun project all the way around… It’s a lot more fun than just an average meeting.”
After the smoke had cleared and the racing was all over, Dude Manville had proven that his flute-car was able to handle all challengers as he took home first place in the speed competition, with Sawyer Ballister, age 9, and Forrest Griffin, age 10, close behind in second and third places respectively.