Northeast Tarrant

Grapevine Cub Scout Pack 817 Pinewood Derby puts youth on fast track to learning, fun

Scouts watch their cars race down the track during Cub Scout Pack 817’s pinewood derby at Grapevine Elementary School. Crestmont Baptist Church of Burleson provided the track and hosts derbies across the state.
Scouts watch their cars race down the track during Cub Scout Pack 817’s pinewood derby at Grapevine Elementary School. Crestmont Baptist Church of Burleson provided the track and hosts derbies across the state. Special to the Star-Telegram

Mix a block of wood, ingenious young minds, enthusiasm and a little friendly competition and you have the makings of a Pinewood Derby.

And don’t forget the fun.

“It’s a race. It’s a competition. But it’s a chance to see my friends, too,” said Luke Finch, 10, a fourth-grader at Grapevine Elementary School.

Luke was one of about three dozen members of Cub Scout Pack 817 that participated Saturday in the annual Pinewood Derby at Grapevine Elementary.

In keeping with the theme of “superheroes or comic book characters,” Luke went with the comic book hero The Flash, who has the ability to move extremely fast and use superhuman reflexes. The car was painted red with yellow lightning bolts to honor the youth’s hero.

The Pinewood Derby is a racing event for Cub Scouts in the Boy Scouts of America. Cub Scouts build and race their own cars.

Turning a block of wood into an approximately 7-inch-long car is no easy feat. And helping the Scouts’ dreams materialize was Pack 817 — sponsored by First United Methodist Church in Grapevine — which offered a workshop that provided help with cutting, sanding and painting the cars.

“Some of them get pretty elaborate,” said Luke’s father, Bill Finch, Cubmaster of Pack 817. “They go all out. There were a lot of smiles and laughter. It was a fun experience.”

He said the annual event is extremely popular with the Scouts, but also with parents and friends who welcome an opportunity to bond with one another in a safe environment.

“Every kid comes away smiling,” Finch said.

The seven-lane track was provided by Crestmont Baptist Church in Burleson, which loans its track and church personnel out to events such as Saturday’s, through its Crestmont Raceways ministry.

“The Lord gave us this ministry to minister to children,” Crestmont Raceways organizer Larry Schwalk said of their operation that began in 1985. “We have a blast with the kids and we entertain the adults.”

It was a real family affair for Bradley and Mikaela Rood, whose racers were their three children: William, 10; Emilia, 7; and Gabriel, 5, the latter two who competed in the last race for siblings of Scouts.

William, a fourth-grader at Grapevine Elementary, won last year for fastest car, but this year won funniest design for his Pac-Man video game concept.

He was happy with his design medal, saying, “I like painting cars.”

Rood said it was an enjoyable outing for the entire family.

“It’s good, spirited fun,” the Grapevine man said. “We’re looking forward to coming back next year.”

Marty Sabota: 817-390-7367, @martysabota

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