Pinewood Derby Vs. Kentucky Derby

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Smile Makers / Uncategorized

There are some differences, my friends.

Today was my first experience with the Cub Scouts’ Pinewood Derby.

It was supposed to start at 9, which meant that we planned to be there by 08:50 and we were, but we didn’t quite have time to get coffee and still be there by then.  I figured that first of all, it’s a cub scouts event so surely they will have coffee there.  Secondly I thought, how long can this thing be anyways?

At 0900 they started building the track.  STARTED.  At the Kentucky Derby I don’t believe they start building and grooming the track at the start time.  Four men stood and worked on the same piece for easily 10 minutes.  I badly wanted to Youtube it and find the answer and just go tell them.  Also, is this the first derby ever or should I presume it has happened once, twice, or 10,000 times before?

Next comes track cleaning.  I would have thought that would be happening around 8 ish.  I was wrong.  By 0940 they announced that there was a software issue and so in the meantime they would just ‘set up a carnival for the kids’ while they worked on it.  What? That sure makes the meantime sound kind of long to me.  Coffee.  We left to go get coffee and a snack since apparently we had plenty of time and it had been pointed out that I was less than patient.

By the time we got back they were just about to start.  Great.  Another glitch, we have to wait for the timekeeper to write down the times before we reset them.  That was a practice run.  We’ll try again.  Steve, you can’t pick up the cars until we know which one is in which lane.  Pinewood Derby = Rocket Science.

Great news, during the surprise impromptu carnival whistles were given out to all of the children.   Short of giving a child a whistle in a potential ‘lost on a wilderness hike’ situation, there is never a time a child needs a whistle.  This brings me to my next point.  At the Kentucky Derby, they have mint juleps.  If the children are given whistles, adults must be given alcohol.  This is a law that should be followed without question, 9 AM (I mean 10 or 11 or whenever the track is ready) or not.

Flask.  This was most definitely a flask event.  I failed.

Hats. The Kentucky Derby is known for the hats.  Now, while the hats today lacked some of the flair and individuality, I’m partial to how this adorable kiddo looked in his.

tiger scout

Another thing that I was not prepared for was the rage this brought out in my husband.  Wouldn’t you know that he did this when he was a kid, and it was rigged.  I believe him.  Small town derby rigging sounds legit.  One track had a ding in it that bumped and slowed his car down every time and they never traded tracks! It may have been 20 some years ago, but I’m outraged.

“I’m not saying I would have won, but we’ll never really know.  Andy Richardson won.  And that was the last year I did that since they couldn’t do it right. I’m not bitter about it anymore though.” – Tom.  Uh-huh.

Ah, race time.  Each race of each heat the cars have to go down each of the four tracks so that they could get the average of the times in case one track is faster than another or has a blemish, such as the above horror story.  That’s a lot of math happening for the poor lady who is mint julep-less.  If you can’t tell she’s the lady in the green hat.  See how she looks like she wants to die?

derby track

That blue car there that is winning is Carter’s police car, which placed first in his division and third overall.  One of the cars that beat him was the Batmobile and we told him there is no shame in losing to the Batmobile! Pretty great for his first year derby-ing.

carter and daddy at the derby

If turns out that derby-ing is fatiguing.  I was really, really glad I avoided passing out.

derby O2 and HR

Rest is next on the agenda for me!  I hope this Saturday is going great for everyone else too; and if you weren’t smiling before you should be now after seeing Carter in his tiger scout uniform!


  1. Colleen Knauber says

    Well, Carter is the most handsome tiger about I have ever seen. And he should be proud of how well his police car did. He is also building a store of stories to tell his son…they will be shocked at the no drinking part!


  2. OMG I will never get over how witty you are. I bust out laughing when reading some of your posts. I can just picture you sitting next to me at work telling the story. It’s so freaking funny! BTW, those derby races have gotten WAY fancier than they used to be. I remember when my brother’s did that…there was no electronic speed measurer! It was based on who’s car crossed the finish line first! I can see where Tom’s frustration came from many moons ago. lol The expression on the lady in the green hat is priceless….


    • I felt so bad for her. ‘Oh the software isn’t logging it to the computer. We’ll just have her write it all down and figure all the averages out.’ I bet she’s drinking a margarita right now wherever she is.


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