HJ/EDEnterprise Dispatch, Jan. 23, 2006

Cub Scouts prepare for Pinewood Derby

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

The Pinewood Derby has become much more technologically advanced and competitive since John Madson of Cokato competed when he was a Cub Scout.

Madson, the Webelos leader, now helps his son Andrew, a Sr. Webelo, build his last car for Friday’s Pinewood Derby competition.

What begins as a four-ounce block of wood can be designed to be so much more.

“The technology was so different when I was a kid, there’s so much you can do with them,” Madson said.

He’s been researching online and found some tips from a MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) student that had researched and examined the Pinewood Derby.

There are rules that must be followed, for example, oil cannot be used, so Madson and his son used graphite powder on the wheels axles to help the wheels turn faster.

“There is so much that affects how fast the cars go,” Madson explained. They put lead in the wood to make it a bit heavier, but not heavier than five ounces.

The shape can make a difference. Last year, Andrew’s car was shaped like Swiss cheese with holes in it, and he won first place.

There are web sites that sell parts specifically for the Pinewood Derby. Madson and his son purchased special wheels designed to make the cars faster.

Also, he explained that it goes faster with only three wheels on the ground.

While John enjoys working with his son and other Webelos on their cars, he knows “It’s fun for the kids.”

The Pinewood Derby for Cokato Cub Scouts is 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27 at Cokato City Hall.

Weigh-ins begin Tuesday, Jan. 17, and the cars can weigh no more than five ounces.

The track is similar to a ski slope and they race two at a time. There are lights at the end to indicate the winner.

The Scouts first race in their dens and then the winners of each race go against the first and second place winners.

The race typically takes about an hour and a half and there are approximately 30 boys competing.

Dassel Cub Scouts competed Saturday at the Covenant Church in Dassel.

Dassel and Cokato winners will be posted in a future issue of the Enterprise Dispatch.


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