For us, it happens every January. And every January, I forget it’s coming.
It’s the Pinewood Derby.
If you know a Cub Scout, then you’ve probably heard all about it. I once made the mistake of explaining it as “a race with wooden cars” in front of my boys and my husband. I’ll never do that again.
Apparently, I had forgotten all about the mechanics of building one of these cars from the standard wood block set that each Scout receives. There’s the planning phase, the rough cuts, the sanding, the painting. Then metal bits are embedded into the car to bring its weight up to, but not over, 5 ounces. But you’re still not done. You’ve got to mount the wheels just so and sand the axels just right so the car can fly down the steep track. There’s a million little steps to making one of these cars before you race it in one big event.
But first… the design.
It can’t be too tall or too wide for the track. Other than that, you can do pretty much anything. So what concept did my son C come up with for his derby car?
A big ol’ box of donuts on wheels. He’s a kid after my own heart.
He and my husband S worked on this thing forever. Every time I turned around, I found a new, half-eaten box of donuts on the counter. When I asked S about it, he told me that he had to buy them — “for research.”
(Sidenote: for the past several weeks, my kids would sidle into the kitchen, glancing all around before they’d ask me, “Hey Mom? Is there any ‘research’ left over?” I think my oldest was so sad when the Derby was over because he knew the donuts had left the building.)
They painstakingly worked on the look of the donut box. C made little donuts from modeling clay and painted them to have that just-iced donut look. I love it.
The good news? It didn’t finish last. I’ve said it before — in our house, style trumps speed every single time.
Got a Cub Scout of your own? What’s the best Pinewood Derby car you’ve ever seen?