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Cub Scouts get on the fast track at annual pinewood derby

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Cameron Jennen's pinewood derby race car won the Rotary Club Most Creative Car Award. (RosaLin Alcoser / FOCUS)
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Snow and strong winds Saturday were not enough to stop the pinewood derby.

"Pinewood is the big event in Cub Scouting," Perham Rotary Club member Chuck Johnson said.

Excited racers from Perham Cub Scouts 321, a branch of the Boy Scouts for children between kindergarten and fifth grade, ran around the gym at St. Paul Lutheran School. Before the derby could begin a short video was made as the scouts thanked the Perham Rotary Club for the donation of a new 38-foot race track.

Parent volunteer Jacques Kimball pulled the lever to release the cars as the scouts gathered around watching the four homemade cars speed down the track. Caution tape was placed in front of the track to help keep scouts contained -- barely -- as they pushed forward toward the action.


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Cub Scouts from troop 321 eagerly watch Saturday as cars go racing by at the annual pinewood derby. (RosaLin Alcoser / FOCUS)

Four unmanned, unpowered miniature cars made out of pinewood were raced down the sloping track at a time. Each car was raced multiple times in its division to create its average run time in seconds. The first-place winners from each den would then race against each other for the title of grand champion. Winners were determined by their time average.

Cars were built by scouts, with help from parents, for the race. All racers had to weigh in their car at registration to make sure that it was under the 5-ounce weight limit.

In addition to the new track, the Rotary Club also sponsored a new award this year for the most creative car. Winner Cameron Jennen said he designed the car himself, but "dad helped," he said.

The grand champion of the 2020 pinewood derby was Jack Hemberger from the Tiger Den.


Race results

Grand Final

  • First: Jack Hemberger, 3.2664 seconds
  • Second: Sophia Metzler, 3.2869 seconds
  • Third: Henry Cissell, 3.3353 seconds

Lion Den -- Kindergarten

  • First: Maggie Cissell, 3.3640 seconds
  • Second: Andy Hochstein, 3.4006 seconds
  • Third: Brock Verland, 3.4425 seconds

Tiger Den -- First Grade


  • First: Jack Hemberger, 3.2646 seconds
  • Second: Marshall Fjosne, 3.2744 seconds
  • Third: Joshua Dahn, 3.3638 seconds

Wolf Den -- Second Grade

  • First: Levi Murdock, 3.3136 seconds
  • Second: Katelynn Mayfield, 3.3979 seconds
  • Third: Jacob Westall, 3.5289 seconds

Bear Den -- Third Grade

  • First: Sophia Metzler, 3.2923 seconds
  • Second: Sam Menz, 3.3062 seconds
  • Third: Colton Mayfield, 3.3243 seconds

Webelos -- Fourth Grade

  • First: Henry Cissell, 3.3590 seconds
  • Second: Ethan Johnson, 3.5212 seconds
  • Third: Peter Carlson, 4.3566 seconds

Arrow of Light -- Fifth Grade

  • First: Michael Menz, 3.4786 seconds

Open Class (parents, siblings, anyone else)

  • First: Nick Murdock, 3.3508 seconds
  • Second: Katie Murdock, 3.3661 seconds
  • Third: Nora Murdock, 3.5976 seconds

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Tiger Den member Jack Hemberger holds his awards: a first-place trophy for the first-grade division, his grand champion trophy and his derby winning pinewood race car.

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