Baloo's Bugle

December 2007 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue

Volume 14, Issue 5
January 2008 Theme

Theme: Cub Scout Car Show
Webelos: Fitness & Scientist
Tiger Cub Requirement 3


Commissioner Dave's Roundtable Prop for
Cub Scout Car Show

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Pinewood Derby
Grand Teton Council

This poem first appeared in Baloo's Bugle in January 2000 after Margaret Holcomb, Belljoye, contacted USSSP about a Pinewood Derby poem she had written wondering if we would share it with other Sscouters. It is with pleasure and honor that I share it with the readers of Baloo's Bugle again.  CD

Each year for Christmas wrapped in shape of a box
This Cub Scout receives a gift and no it's not socks. 
It is some axles and wheels, a small piece of pine
You wonder what it is that makes his eyes shine

That Cub Scout, he knows, his mind all in a whirl
These small pieces, more precious than pearls
For in his hands he is holding a dream that is due
To enter a race to be held in month, maybe two

But for this one scout, this race will be his last
For he is a Webelos, his car will have to be fast
As he turns the small piece of pine in his hand
His mind is on shapes and he starts to plan

He gathers pencils, paper and a carbon or two
Traces, erases, discards, and decides on a few
It will continue like this for a few days more
Can't make up his mind, making his brain sore

Finally, picking his pattern his relief is quite great
Then we stand by our action, it is time to create
Out come the tools, a knife ,a saw and a drill
There is nothing like it. it is such a great thrill

To have watched this young grandson we adore
Year after year, build the cars, this will be four
I can now see the wheels turning in his head
Should I design this one or that one instead

Now the pattern is chosen, he traces the shape
With pencil to carbon, then he uses his tape
Making sure the length meets what is set out
In the rules that must be met by all of the scouts

He now turns to the saw, the goggles go on
Safety comes first or rule one will be blown
With his granddad or dad standing close by
He starts the cut and the sawdust does fly

When the dust settles, he fingers the cut wood
Then lifting up his goggles and nothing could
Ever be more prideful than the grin on his face
It is just the start, preparing for one last race

He runs his hands over the shaped piece of pine
I wonder what he's thinking, I'd give a whole dime
Picking up the paper to sand the wood just right
For hours he works with it late into the night

For days and days he leaves it sitting to the side
Thinking of paint and stickers, then eyes open wide
You can see the idea in his head start to form
Man or man this one will be out of the norm

Picking up his scout knife, he carves the first line
Places for the headlights, now this will take time
He has been taught the right way to handle a blade
He carefully finishes it, the groove has been laid

The knife is then closed, so carefully put away
Now on for the fun part, Hurrah! and Hooray!
This car, his last, has been built just for speed
Down deep inside him this hunger this need

For to be Grand Champion the head of the pack
Just one memory to savor, one day looking back
Tell his sons, of long ago times and to talk about
What it was like to learn and live the life of a scout

For now the time has come to just leave it alone
It is just perfect, time to let it stand on it's own
All the work that can be done has been done
He now feels it in his heart that this is the one

His dad and granddad and he all act as one
Packed in a special box, the time has come
To submit it to be judged, then the long wait
He can't touch it again, it's now all up to fate

His car is now checked for weight and design
To see if directions were followed line by line
His weight, length and height are all just right
His car has a number, impounded for the night

None will see the cars till the Derby Day Race
Now preparations for the day pick up the pace
The leaders, parents and scouts volunteers all
Join, to ready the track, they all answer the call

Derby race day is here, he is up with the sun
Trying to remember what he might have done
To build his car so it would have more speed
It is all too late, for he has now done the deed

The large building in which the race is to be run.
Is filled with families of scouts who have done
Each one their best that they could possibly do
"Do Your Best", is the motto, and each held it true

The excitement builds as all take their places
The anticipation the fever I see in small faces
The ceremony to honor our flag is has begun
The salute to the same all now pledge as one

The first cars now race swiftly down the track
The pace will be kept there will be no slack
Yelling and screaming and cheering, we each
Encourage our own boy a crescendo we reach

The eyes of each boy is now sparkling with zeal
Hoping against hope that he wont lose a wheel
As cars plummet down the track one last time
I look at the scoreboard the moment sublime

He's done it I scream and jump up and down
He'd won the den, the pack, now the last round
Of the District Derby which has been his dream
To be grand champion, again I start to scream

With tears in my eyes and a silly grin on my face
I hug my husband, son, everyone in the place
I turn to face my grandson blow a kiss and sigh
I give him a sign, two fingers in victory held high

It's not the trophies that he has won on this day
The accolades of what others have had to say
It's in his heart and mind that someday will rest
That as a Cub Scout, he tried and did his best.

Belljoye, June 11, 1999

Cub Scout Derbies
Grand Teton Council

Derbies of one kind or another have always been a part of Cub Scouting. As early as 1939, the BSA Supply Division listed kits for model planes, boats, and airplanes. The derbies have been viewed as a way to get parents and sons to cooperate on a project.

An early Cub Leader's Round Table contained instructions for holding a Kite Derby. Competitions included the 100 yard dash, novelty kites, altitude race, artistic kites, kite battle, and the messenger race. The BSA Supply Service offered a pamphlet entitled Kites to teach kite making.

In April of 1937, Scouters were given the directions for making the Cubmobile. The original intention for the Cubmobiles was that they be any contrivance on wheels. According to the How to Book of Cubbing, "It may be drawn, pushed, or propelled by Cubs, or may be drawn by a trained animal-in fact, anything goes!" Most ended up patterned after the Soapbox Derby racers,

The first reference to the Pinewood Derby in a Scout publication was in the October, 1954 issue of Boy's Life. The June, 1955 Program Helps listed "Wheels, Wings, and Things" as a theme. The Cub Scout Program Quarterly gave instructions for running the Pack Meeting Derby. The Supply Division's catalogs had kits available for $2.75 for a package of eight. Over 15 million kits were sold during the next 20 years.

Regatta kits arrived in 1958 with kits for eight boats selling for $2.95. The rubber band driven Space Derby kits followed the start of the space race in 1961. Another derby was made available during the seventies; the Rocket Derby. The kits were later dropped from the Supply Division catalog.

Fun Facts about Fantastic Automobiles
Alice, Golden Empire Council

  • Bertha Benz was the first woman driver, driving a car designed by her husband, with the first patent for a car, on the first car trip in 1888!
  • Leonardo daVinci didn't invent the first car, but he drew designs that have been built and shown to work utilizing the differential, gear shift and direction changing gears, the jack and the use of ball bearings to move gears smoothly and prevent friction from disabling a mechanical engine.  He also understood the value of inter-changeable parts long before Henry Ford!
  • Headlights didn't appear on cars until 1906 | they used kerosene.  But that car had no steering wheel!  The driver had only a stick or shaft to steer with!
  • The first self-propelled road vehicle was a tractor for the French army built in 1769 by Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot.  It had three wheels and a top speed of 2.5 miles!
  • Most American auto horns beep in the key of F.
  • In Singapore a new car costs only $5 to license. As the vehicle gets older, the price goes up, and once the car is 8 years old, it is no longer allowed on the streets.  These rules have almost wiped out pollution from cars in that country!
  • Speaking of price, between 1968 and 1978, the price of the average American car doubled!
  • For every 50 miles driven in an automobile, a person has a 1 in a million chance of being killed.
  • In 1905 the Bosco Company of Akron, Ohio, marketed a "collapsible Rubber Automobile Driver." It was intended to scare thieves away. Modern drivers have sometimes used a dummy to access the faster lanes reserved for cars with more passengers | and paid a hefty fine if caught!
  • The beloved London taxicabs with their high roofs were originally designed to keep gentlemen from knocking off their top hats as they entered and left the vehicles.
  • In 1924 a Ford automobile cost $265!!
  • The first automobile race in the U.S. was held in 1895, running from Chicago to Evanston.  J. Frank Duryea won at an average speed of 71.5 miles per hour.
  • A plumber named David Buick actually build the first General Motors car | he also invented the process where porcelain could adhere to iron, making the white or colored bathtub possible!
  • Many people had arms broken by an engine backfire while hand cranking cars to start them before 1917 and the invention of the electric starter!
  • On July 11, 1903, the Ford Motor Company sold the first car to Dr. E. Pfenning for $850 cash.
  • In 1950 the United States had 70 percent of all the automobiles, buses, and trucks in the entire world | today, China is fast becoming a major car user!
  • To manufacture a new car approximately 148,000 liters of water are needed!
  • Henry Leland introduced "parts interchangeability" to the auto industry after learning the concept working in firearms factories.
  • Brothers Charles and Frank Duryea set up the first American car manufacturing company in 1893.
  • By 1908, 485 different companies were building "horseless carriages."
  • Electric cars are nothing new | Robert Anderson introduced an "electric carriage" in 1832 in Scotland.
  • American George Selden never manufactured the internal combustion engine he designed in 1876 | but he collected royalties on his patent until 1895.
  • In 1913, Henry Ford introduced the world's first moving assembly line, which allowed the same number of workers to build many more cars | and made a car that was cheap enough for the average family to afford | it was also reliable and easy to fix.

Bizarre Driving Laws
Scouter Jim from Bountiful, Utah


  • It is illegal for a driver to be blindfolded while operating a vehicle.
  • It is legal to drive the wrong way down a one-way street as long as a lantern is attached to the front of your car.
  • Driving barefoot is illegal.


  • It is illegal to tie a dog to the roof of your car.


  • It is illegal for a person to blare the horn on a vehicle at any place where cold drinks or sandwiches are served after 9 p.m.


  • Any woman dressed in a housecoat is prohibited from driving a car.
  • It is illegal in San Francisco to buff or dry your car with used underwear.
  • No unoccupied vehicle may exceed 60 miles per hour.


  • If an elephant is tied to a parking meter, the owner or attendant must deposit money in the meter.


  • State Assembly members are immune from being ticketed for speeding while the State Assembly is in session.
  • In Marietta, Georgia, it is illegal to spit from a moving car or bus, but is okay from a moving truck.


  • In Evanston, Illinois, it is unlawful to change clothes while inside a car with the curtains drawn, except during a fire.


  • In Derby, Kansas, it is considered a misdemeanor to screech your tires while driving.


  • If you stop for ice cream while driving, be aware that it is considered unlawful to transport an ice cream cone in your back pocket.


  • You will be ticketed if you drive with a gorilla in the backseat of your car.


  • If you car breaks down in Detroit and you are waiting for assistance, be aware that sitting in the middle of the street to read a newspaper is illegal.


  • It is illegal to cross state lines, regardless if you are walking or driving, with a duck on your head. And, if you're crossing into Wisconsin, the law also applies to chickens.
  • In Minnetonka, Minnesota, if you drive a truck that leaves mud, dirt, or sticky substances on any road, you will be considered a public nuisance who is harming the peace, safety, and general welfare of the town.
  • You cannot ride a motorcycle without a shirt.


  • In Whitehall, Montana, vehicles are prohibited from driving with ice picks attached to the wheels.


  • It is illegal to drive a camel on the highway.

New Jersey

  • Drivers are required to beep their car horns before passing another vehicle.
  • If convicted of driving while intoxicated, you permanently lose the option of registering for a vanity license plate.

North Carolina

  • In Dunn, North Carolina, it is illegal to drive on a sidewalk.


  • In Oxford, Ohio, authorities will ticket you if you consecutively drive around the town square more than 100 times.
  • Keep in mind that if your car breaks down and you phone for a cab, you will be ticketed if you opt to ride on the cab's roof.


  • It is considered illegal to read a comic book while driving.


  • You will be ticketed if you leave your car door open longer than is deemed necessary.
  • You will be slapped with a Class A traffic violation if you use your car on an Oregon highway to prove your physical endurance.
  • It is illegal to pump your own gas.


  • If you spy a team of approaching horses, you are required by law to pull to the side of the road and cover your car with a blanket or dust cover that has been painted or sewn to blend into the scenery. But, if the horses react skittish to your efforts, you are then required to disassemble your car and hide the parts in the nearby underbrush.

South Carolina

  • In Hilton Head, South Carolina, you cannot leave trash in your vehicle out of fear of attracting rats.


  • It is illegal to fire a gun at any wild game other than whales from a moving car.

West Virginia

  • It is perfectly legal, for road maintenance purposes, to scavenge road kill.


Grand Teton Council

Don't Forget The Purpose Of The Pack Meeting
Make sure you are giving out the regular awards the boys have earned that month. Some Cubmasters think that there isn't enough time on pinewood derby night but the purpose of Pack Meeting still is to recognize the boys. Awards can be done, quickly but still fun. I make a Cubmaster car, which I make slow on purpose. I build it up 2 or 3 months in advance. No one will beat my car, etc. On race day the boys have to race my car to get their award. They love it!!
Give Out The Rules
Make sure everyone knows the rules before you begin. Give out a list of rules that you want them to follow. There are length and weight rules written inside the kits but they are never looked out. Make up your own rule sheet, pass it out to all the parents and then stick to the rules.
Impound The Cars
The weekend before the pinewood derby, have the boys come and impound their car at your house. Make sure each boys car is weighed properly with the same scale. After the car is inspected and weighed in then you will keep the car and bring it to pack night. I had a big box with rags in the bottom so the boy could wrap it and place it in the box. This will eliminate the before race day craziness of weighing the cars, fixing cars, taking weight in or out. It makes it A LOT better on race day to have all that over. At the church, I lay out a big blanket on a banquet table and lay all the cars out.
I truly believe there is nothing wrong with giving out a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners. It is a time for the boys to learn to be a good winner or a good loser. I do believe that each boy should receive the same trophy or certificate. None of this, tiny trophy for the losers and a giant one for the 1st place winner. Make sure each and every boy gets an award. Also, I think it is important to stress good sportsmanship. I give out the best sportsmanship award last of all, as the most important and best award to receive.

Here are some suggestions: Most Attractive,   Most creative, Most realistic, Best Paint Job, Most Colorful, Best Workmanship, Most Imaginative, Most Artistic, Most Unusual, Best Quality, Judge's Choice, Simply Marvelous, Best Craftmanship, Most Detailed. Sportiest, Most Original, (Avoid anything that is negative: like Junkyard Special)

Open Class Races
After the official race, I always have an open class race. I encourage the dads to make a pinewood derby car of there own along side their boy. That way hopefully the boy can actually get his hands on his car, if they are building them together step by step. It is also a lot of fun to have the boys race their dads and their moms (I always make a car of my own). You can also have older brothers bring cars from other years and race. It gets the whole family involved.
Special Certificates
Make up certificates like the following for your Pinewood Derby volunteers and attach to OREO cookies, hot wheel cars, or Gold Coin candies

Materials found in Baloo's Bugle may be used by Scouters for Scouting activities provided that Baloo's Bugle and the original contributors are cited as the source of the material.

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