Scouts put high-tech research, fancy design into Pinewood Derby entries

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 14, 2005

Call them a fast crowd. It was all about speed Saturday when more than 80 Cub, Webelo and

Boy scouts from several counties in the Andrew Jackson Council’s Southern District converged on the National Guard Armory on Liberty Road.

That was where, after several days of researching, designing and building miniature racing cars from scratch, Cub and Webelo scouts got their chance to race them in the district’s annual Pinewood Derby.

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&uot;They get to learn sportsmanship, get experience, build camaraderie,&uot; said Kim Downey of Natchez, who organized the event.

&uot;It’s just fun competition,&uot; added Mike Culpepper, district executive for the Southern District.

While pinewood derby racing has been a Scouting tradition since the 1930s, these days competitors have gone high-tech, researching on the Internet the newest designs and ways to make the cars go faster than ever before.

Some derby entries looked like tiny Indy 500 racers in all shades of the rainbow; one even resembled an old-fashioned locomotive.

Colby Horton of Ferriday, La., displayed a car that featured a decal of children’s book and movie hero Harry Potter.

His friend Braxton McKay of Natchez showed a fire red car with a Firebird hood decal.

For him, &uot;driving the cars&uot; was the day’s main attraction.

Horton said that was fun but admitted that, for him, walking across a rope &uot;monkey bridge&uot; Boy Scouts built outside was the most fun.

While Troop 158 built the bridge, Troop 168 cooked chili and cobbler for the participants, and Troop 170 showed examples of rope tying.

Having such side activities helped keep scouts busy between racing events and helps foster in them a desire to stay with Scouting, Downey said.