Sunday, January 12, 2014

Lone Wolf of the Pinewood Derby


Owen sort of started Cub Scouts this year.  He's been going to the pack meetings, but as the only member of the Wolves this year, there haven't been any den meetings yet, so we've been a bit iffy on the whole thing so far.  But at the last pack meeting in November though, they announced the Pinewood Derby would be in January and that we couldn't pass up.

I remember building my Pinewood Derby car with Dad as a kid.  It was a metallic blue beauty, perfectly balanced with lead weights, and we spent countless hours working graphite into the wheels and axles.  It all paid off with a win at the West Branch pack level, and a trip to the eastern Iowa Pinewood Derby race in Cedar Rapids.  I didn't go any further, but it was my favorite memory from my Cub Scout days.

We brought Owen's Pinewood Derby kit to Iowa to start working on his car in Uncle Ken's shop over Christmas, but it proved a little too cold to work out there, so we started in earnest in January.  Owen designed the car, Grandpa and Daddy did the sawing, and Owen worked on sanding (with a little extra help from Grandpa).  We took the car over to Katherine & Lee's to polish the axels and put on a coat of metallic red paint, and finished off the car with a curly W painted in white.

Saturday was race day, and Owen was all set with a cool looking car and a new Cub Scout uniform. All the cars looked pretty slick, and when Owen finished 5th in the first heat (I missed filming it), we were a little worried about the competition.  In the second heat (1st race in the video) he came in 3rd, and things were looking up.  The third heat (labeled second heat below, oops) he came in second, but the race wasn't recorded, so he had to do the third heat again (this time correctly labeled third heat in the video) and he rocked it with another 2nd place finish, so no harm done.  We waited for the scores to be tallied: out of about 60 cars the top 24 would advance, and sure enough Owen advanced to the next round.  In Owen's Quarterfinal race he finished a very strong 2nd place to advance to the Semifinals. Now his car was going up against some real tough competition.  The kids gathered around eagerly and the cars went off in the tightest pack we'd seen all day.  The top three would advance to the finals. The car in lane 6 eeked out the victory about one length ahead of the second place car in lane 5, who in turn was ahead of Owen and the rest of the pack by a little less than a length.  The last four cars, fighting for the final spot came across the line in a photo finish, separated by no more than a fraction of an inch, the electric eye gave the last spot in the finals to the car in lane 4 and Owen was across the line in 6th place. He may have missed the finals, but it was a great run for the lone Wolf on Capitol Hill, and I'm sure he'll be back for more next year.

(click here for all the pictures)

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