NEWINGTON â€“ This past weekend, local Cub Scouts competed in an event that hasnâ€™t changed much over the last half-century.
The annual Pinewood Derby brought Cub Scout Pack 322 families together Saturday at Grace Episcopal Church, where the pack holds its weekly meetings.
About 20 boys spent the last few weeks perfecting their cars, which begin with a basic set of construction materials and operate simply by weight and momentum. The only high-tech component of the competition is a racetrack that records carsâ€™ speed and finishing time using computer software. The boys watched their performance on televisions set up next to the track, which was donated by a parent and sponsored by Dunkinâ€™ Donuts.
Ethan Lassen-Crawford took first place overall and will join several others at the regional Pinewood Derby in Bristol later this month. The 11-year-old is a member of the Webelos 2, one of five different dens that make up the pack. There are also the Wolves, Bear and Webelos, which represent different Cub Scout age brackets.
â€śThe boys have a blast,â€ť Assistant Cub Master Carol Gonzalez said this week. â€śEven the ones who are super-competitive, they all cheer each other on.â€ť
She and Cubmaster Paul Tesz joined parents helping the kids get started on their projects. Each received a kit with a single block of wood, four nails and four tires. The only other features that can be added to the racers are paint and other aesthetics, along with metal weights, which help increase their speed.
As they begin to take their own unique shape, color and design, the boys admire each otherâ€™s handiwork.
â€śThey do their own little pats on the back for having cool cars,â€ť Gonzalez pointed out.
Her son Jace Kusy, 8, has been a part of the derby the last three years.
â€śHis dad helped him make his car,â€ť Gonzalez said. â€śItâ€™s good bonding time.â€ť
On race day, parents brought food to the church and the group shared in a potluck meal together.
The Connecticut Rivers Councilâ€™s 2018 Pinewood Derby is set for March 24 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Bristol.
Erica Schmitt can be reached at 860-801-5097, @schmittnbh or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pack 322â€™s results
Overall winner: Ethan Lassen-Crawford
First place in each den:
Wolves: Charles Borino
Bears: Aiden Krafthofer
Webelos: Ryan Skehan
Webelos 2: Ethan Lassen-Crawford
The top 4 speeds overall: