Every year Scouts across America display their talents of carving and building a car for Pinewood Derby races.

Today, scouts from East Texas raced their cars at Pollard Methodist Church in Tyler. The benefits, for scouts and their parents, are discovered through the derby process itself: strengthening bonds, sharing responsibility, developing teamwork, learning new skills, exercising creativity, building sportsmanship, and making new friends.

The cars are built from a kit approved by the organization, and consisting of an approved block of wood and accessories such as wheels and axles. The scouts and their parents then work to create a car that will accelerate and excel in a downhill race against other similarly created vehicles.

The first Pinewood Derby was held in 1953 by Cub Scout Pack 280C of Manhattan Beach, California, operated by the North American Aviation Management Club. It was the brainchild of Cubmaster Donald Murphy. The derby, publicized in Boys' Life in October 1954, was an instant and enduring hit. The magazine offered plans for the track and car, which featured "four wheels, four nails, and three blocks of wood."

The rules of the very first race stated: "The Derby is run in heats - two to four cars starting by gravity from a standstill on a track and run down a ramp to a finish line unaided. The track is an inclined ramp with wood strips down the center to guide the cars." The cars still roll that way today.

Our Keaton Boyd was there, and files this video report.


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