Pinewood Derby on Saturday at Galleria

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  • Five Winners Pack (click blue arrow to the right for more photos)

  • Brothers Joey and John from Pike County, Pa.

“I am excited to move on to finals because it is going to be fun to watch my car go down the track. Hopefully, I will get at least third place this year."
Joey, 8, from Pack 1003 in Pike County, Pa.

— The Delaware River District Pinewood Derby Finals, which attracts competitors from Pike and Orange counties, will be held at the Galleria Crystal Run Mall in Middletown, N.Y., on Saturday, April 12.

The event takes place on a track specifically designed for Pinewood Derby cars, which will be set up on the second floor, near Dick’s Sporting Goods. Spectator tickets are not required and admission is free. The public is invited to come with their children to see the cars and watch them race. Registration and weigh-in of the cars begins at 10 a.m. with the first heat scheduled to start at 11 a.m.

The Pinewood Derby is an extremely popular racing event for young children and their since 1953. Participation is open to boys in from Kindergarten through fourth grade, who participate in the Cub Scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America. Each scout, with the help of a parent or adult sponsor, builds a car using only a block of pine wood, four plastic wheels, and four nails.

The fastest cars gain a competitive advantage by strategically adding weight to maximize potential energy and finding ways to reduce air resistance and rolling friction.

The seven-inch long race cars are raced on a multiple-lane track, specifically designed for the Pinewood Derby. The cars, which do not use any springs, bearings, or motors, are propelled only by gravity. Sophisticated timing equipment is used to calculate scale-equivalent speeds that can exceed 225 MPH!

The Hudson Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America consists of nearly 8000 boys grouped into four regional districts. The Delaware River District covers Orange and Sullivan counties in New York and Pike county in Pennsylvania. The district is divided into 26 neighborhood units, referred to as packs, in which 1,100 scouts are currently enrolled.

The Delaware District Finals includes four race categories, one each for children in first through fourth grade (Tiger, Wolf, Bear, and Webelos). Only children who finished in first, second, or third place in their pack-competition qualify to race in these categories. In addition, a race called the Grand Prix will also take place. The Grand Prix Race is open to all Cub Scouts in the district who built a car which did not qualify to race in one of the other categories. This includes kindergarten children who participated in this year’s all-new Lion Cub Scout pilot program.

“The Pinewood Derby is not about competition, it’s about creating an opportunity for the child and parent to work together on a project where they can have a lot of fun” explained Christopher Hopkins, Assistant Scout Executive of the Hudson Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Although the program is not intended to be about competition, many Cub Scout parents are very competitive. “The Pinewood Derby provided me with the opportunity to teach my son numerous engineering principles along with the importance of persistence and hard work” explained Pasquale Calabria, an engineer, who’s seven-year old son Andrew from Montgomery took first place as a Tiger Scout in the 2013 District Finals, and with a 7.9232 second time earned the distinction of the fastest car in the district. “We worked on his car after homework every day for two weeks. I kept reminding Andrew that the Cub Scout Motto is Do Your Best” Calabria continued.

“I am excited to move on to finals because it is going to be fun to watch my car go down the track. Hopefully, I will get at least 3 place this year," said Joey, an eight year old from Pack 1003 in Pike County, Pa. Joey placed fourth in the Wolf category of last year’s District Finals with an 8.1527 second time and qualified for District Finals with a first place finish as a Bear Cub Scout in this year’s pack competition. Joey’s younger brother, John, a six-year old in Kindergarten, will also be competing in District Finals as a Lion Cub Scout in the Grand Prix race. Also qualifying from Pack 1003 in Pike County with first place finishes are Ethan Doering (Tiger Cub Scouts), Andrew Williams (Wolf Cub Scouts), and Nicholas Mele (Webelos I).

Max Demar, a 10-year old from Pack 37 in Pine Bush took first place in the Webelos Division of the 2013 District Finals with a 7.9593 second time that was the second best time in the finals. Max also took first place in the Webelos II Division of the Pack 37 competition this year, however he will not be permitted to race in district finals this year as the Delaware District does not run a Webelos II race. Although Max will not be racing in the District Finals, eyes will be on his younger brother Jonah, who will be racing as a Tiger Scout. The Demar boy’s grandfather is a former design engineer for Mercedes Benz.

Webelos II Scouts are not permitted to compete in the District Finals because they have crossed over to Boy Scouts prior to the event, and they therefore are no longer Cub Scouts” explained Christopher Hopkins, Assistant Scout Executive of the Hudson Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Max’s disappointed dad, Sven Demar responded, “I don’t feel that its fair that Webelos II Scouts are not allowed to run in the district finals if they qualified in pack competition while still Webelo Scouts, regardless whether they crossed over to Boy Scouts or not.”

“The Cub Scout program is a year-long program that boys can join at any time” continued Hopkins. Boys who join the Cub Scouts participate in neighborhood units known as packs, which are further organized into small dens, typically six to eight boys. Most dens stay together year after year, building strong bonds and friendships which often last a lifetime.

“A table will be setup at the Delaware District finals will be staffed with representatives to answer any questions that parents may have about the Pinewood Derby, other Cub Scout events, or the Cub Scouts in general. Parents interested in learning more about the Cub Scouts can find out which pack their son would belong to, learn about meetings schedules and locations, and even register on the spot” explained Hopkins.

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