Beloit Pinewood Derby organizers invite children, adults to race cars

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Photo provided Pinewood Derby participants spend countless hours decorating their cars. The 4th annual Beloit Pinewood Derby gives everyone the chance to compete, no matter their age. It's set from noon-5 p.m. on Feb. 24 in the Fruzen Intermediate School gym, 2600 Milwaukee Road.

BELOIT - Calling all racers: Everyone, no matter their age, is invited to compete in the 4th annual Beloit Pinewood Derby.

Boy Scout Troop 316 and Cub Scout Pack 303 are hosting this derby from noon-5 p.m. on Feb. 24 in the Fruzen Intermediate School gym, 2600 Milwaukee Road. Phil VanLandingham Jr., who serves as assistant troop leader for Troop 316 and cub master for pack 303, said registration will begin at noon, and races start at 1 p.m. No pre-registration is required.

Racing categories and trophies will be awarded for each grade level, kindergarteners to fifth graders. However, there will be an open category in the last race for anyone, from children to adults.

"We do it so those older kids that cannot do the Pinewood Derby, because they age out or don't do Boy Scouts, can race," VanLandingham said. "We wanted something for those people who want to build a car and have some fun."

Participants at any age level don't have to be enrolled in the Boy Scouts program. In fact, he said many Girl Scouts have dominated the competition the last few years. All competitors need is an official Boy Scouts Pinewood Derby Car.

Anyone can create their own car from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday in the Todd Elementary School gym, 1621 Oakwood Ave. Boy Scout car kits will be available for sale for $6, and a table saw and sandpaper will be available for the car design. Kids and families can just show up on Saturday then can decorate their cars at home.

"We hope to give every kindergartener through fifth grader the chance to participate," VanLandingham said.

The car kits also come with a set of rules. One of the biggest rules is that a car can't weigh more than 5 ounces. He said many kids become very invested in their cars and decorating them. Common car themes have been SpongeBob and Minecraft. VanLandingham notes that cars can have as little or as much decoration on them as participants want.

He said the Pinewood Derby is a Cub Scouts rite of passage, and this event allows everyone to test their racing skills.

"It's the epitome of what Cub Scouts are," VanLandingham said. "It's their Super Bowl."

The cost to enter the derby is $3 per racer, and there will be an additional $1 charge for prior racers to race in the open category.

Concessions will be for sale with the proceeds supporting scouting. For more information, email Pack303beloit@gmail.com.

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