If you or someone you know was a Cub Scouts™, you are probably familiar with the pinewood derby. This established race, part of the Boy Scouts of America®, encourages scouts to build their own competitive pinewood derby cars with their parents or guardians for participation in the derby.
This engaging event got its start in the early 1950s, when the Cubs’ leader, Don Murphy, created the idea in Manhattan Beach, California. His 10-year-old son was too young to participate in the Soap Box Derby, which was popular because it allowed participants to drive their own handmade cars down a steep hill. The race was limited to kids 12 years and up, and Murphy felt it was important the younger Scouts were not excluded from such events.
His goal was to create something that allowed these younger children to participate and feel included. He decided racing miniature cars would be a fun alternative everyone could enjoy. The idea was to create an easy option with cars anyone could build and race. He created a pinewood derby car design that required simple parts from the hobby shop: four nails, four wheels, and three blocks of wood.
The race was an enormous local success. When the Cub Scouting Service’s national director, O.W. (Bud) Bennett, learned of the race, he was inspired to adopt it and make it a national event. The pinewood derby became a countrywide event within months, and soon, all Cub Scouts had the option to participate.
Since its inception, the race has been a favorite of fathers and sons across the country. Today, entire families join in building the pinewood derby cars that made the initial event such an immediate success. The end result is more than just a competition—it’s a chance to bond with family and friends.
Rail & Sprue Hobbies is the leading hobby shop in Jacksonville, AR. Offering all the parts needed to build a pinewood derby car, they also carry train sets, plastic models, and other fun kits. Visit their website for more information, or call (501) 982-6836 to speak with a friendly representative.