This weekend was the Pine Car Derby race for my son’s Cub Scout Pack.
I must stop here and give kudos for all the work that our Cub Scout parents put into this event. Specifically, we have an electronic track with corresponding software that sets up the heats, tracks the time and speed of each car and then presents the standings. Setting up and running this is a lot of work, but having everything all official makes it a lot of fun for the kids and the spectator parents.
To begin this narrative journey, I must explain that I am Cub Scout Mom. As such, it fell to me to get my son, Mikey, on track with his car build. He is 10 years old and I try to give him more and more responsibility for it’s completion each year …. and this year was no exception. Except we were given little time (about 2 weeks with a Science Project deadline thrown into the middle) and we were facing the “week of” without a car design. This Mom had to take a leap and start the project while Mikey was off on a weekend with his Dad. So….. I picked out a really cute design I found on this website
Remember this picture I posted last week?
Well, not really cute, as novel. A shark car!! I could picture this unusual shaped car racing down the track and everyone looking with approving nods at my son………. So, I started cutting and shaping. I found out quickly that this wasn’t what Mikey had in mind at all, but due to our time constraints, he reluctantly took over…..
We made quick progress until a scheduling conflict caused the Derby to be pushed out until mid-February. Suddenly, we had 4 more weeks to complete the car. Wow! We can do amazing things in 4 weeks. In fact, Lowe’s was giving a workshop on Pine Derby Cars and Mikey and I eagerly signed up. We were hoping for some insight on making our little shark car a bonafide winner!
Kudos (again) to Lowe’s for having these workshops. Not many parents have the tools needed to simply shape a car for this event and Lowe’s pulled out the big guns for this workshop. A band saw and a Dremel tool was on hand to help my son make the car the REALLY wanted….. some low-riding gangsta thing he saw in a magazine.
The awesome guys at Lowe’s even showed us how to polish the axles and the tires – key items for a winning car.
Now we had two car shapes for Mikey to choose and we had polished axles for two cars ….. and before we knew it …. other life events began inserting themselves in between our project and our February deadline.
Fast forward about 3 weeks and we are on a serious deadline. Mikey makes the decision to work with the gangsta car. I am looking at the unpainted Shark Car, visions of it swooping down the track fading, when I decide to finish it and race it myself. (They have Rabble Round of the Derby, which allows parents and siblings to enter the race, as well. )
Mikey puts coats of paint on his Car, soon to be named “Noisy Boy”, from the robot-fighting movie, Real Steel.
He painted his car glossy black and I added some Japanese markings that we think means “Noisy Boy”. Here is his final product… without wheels, of course.
Since he was comfortable handling the painting and wheel placement on his car all by himself, I was free to finish my Shark Car. And here is the big reveal.
Pretty cool, eh? Mind you, I’ve been making these derby cars for years, under the direct supervision of a small male child. We have had a Batman Car, a Silver Bullet Car, and a Yellow “M” Car and they have all looked just like, well, a car. However, this dorsal-fined, Italian Red, yellow flamed wave of undulating wood was right up my creative alley! I had so much fun making and painting her and even let Mikey name her…….. “Apocalypse”. I think this is also from the movie, Real Steel.
The Friday night before the race was spent making finishing touches to the paint details, adding weights to meet the 5oz maximum weight and aligning the wheels for maximum speed. We used a leveled 1×4 board on incline to ensure the car rolled straight instead of careening from side to side, which will slow it down. We were more ready for this race than we have ever been. I think both of us making a car, rather than being worker (and nag) and supervisor, changed our dynamics. This time we both had skin in the game.
Race Day! It was a working event for me, as well. My production company was doing Winner Circle Photos and after we registered and weighed our cars, I had to set up my photo shoot. I explain this because the next two pics will be from that part of my business.
Mikey is a Webelo I (that is 4th grade cub scouts for those not “in-the-know”) and raced with his Den mates. He won all 4 heats and took the First Place trophy for his Den.
He also raced in the Final Derby race against all the Den winners and of 12 contenders, his “Noisy Boy” came in 6th, clocking 184 mph. (The winner clocked an impressive 190 mph)
I’m so happy that he did so well this year. He usually places in the top 3 for his den, but this was his first “FIRST”. Last year he made 3rd place and he was so upset about it because, in actuality, there were only 3 racers for his den, so he came in dead last. This year, he is a bonafide Winner. That was our plan, after all.
So, are you wondering how I did in the Rabble Round? I came in 4th place, just missing the trophy levels. My sexy shark car, Apocalypse, turned heads in every heat and performed a respectable 183 mph. That’s my girl!
My sweet boy insisted on taking this picture of me and my car and we happily went home with his very important trophy (cue walking away into the sunset). So ends the saga of how I ended up being a racer in the Cub Scout Pine Car Derby.
Have you ever found yourself totally immersed in something that was meant for one of your kids? Like being their soccer coach or helping assemble a complicated toy and found yourself totally enjoying the experience? Did it change how you related to each other?