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Scouts pine for speed
Ricky Boschi's eyes were glued on his car as it flashed down the track Saturday during the annual Pinewood Derby in Willows.
Apart from the roar of motorized engines, the event was like any other car race where adults and children cheered for their own or their favorite car.
At the end of the action, Boschi, 6, was grasping the trophy declaring him as the overall winner.
"I was hoping my car would win," said Boschi, who competed in multiple heats before his car was declared the fastest. "It's really special to me because my dad helped me."
The annual Cub Scouts Pack 68 event is sponsored by the Willows Elks Lodge.
The derby is one of the most popular and successful family activities in scouting that teaches its members the rules of fair play and good sportsmanship.
"It's great fun," said Ethan Imperatrice, 7. "My car didn't win but that's OK. I'm glad Ricky's won because he's my friend."
Pinewood derby cars are small wooden models that Cub Scouts make with help from their families.
"What's nice is that it is something fathers and sons can work on together," said Bill Spears, whose son Bobby competed Saturday. "The dads get to use the power tools."
The scouts race the cars in competition, powered by gravity as they run down a track.
"My uncle Andy helped me," said Tristian Bobadilla, who took home a third place overall trophy. "My car's pretty fast."
Scout Masters Jesse Roach and Brian Otterson oversaw the placement of the cars and directed multiple heats and lane changes to determine the overall winners.
The club is hoping to replace it's aging wooden track next year with a polyvinyl material with an electronic meter, members said.
Saturday's race had about 30 participants.
"We have five Tigers and all five participated," said Den Mother Ruth John. "I'm really proud of them."
The event had dozen of wooden cars carved into wedges resembling hot rods and drag racers.
Some were elaborately decorated, with a handful carrying the likeness of characters like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Sonic the Hedgehog.
Spectators at the event voted Jaydon Okumbe's Sonic race car the Best in Show.
"I won Best of Show last year too," said Okumbe, 7, whose grandfather Andy Scow helped build the derby car.
Although Cub Scouts have held the derby in Willows since the 1960s, the event has grown to considerable size the past three years since coming under sponsorship from the Elks.
"I think they just needed a home," said George Waters, Willows Elks Scouting Chairman.
Waters, who is taking over as Scouting Chairman for the Northern District No. 0840 this year, said Cub and Boys Scouts have grown in Willows thanks to the dedication of parents and scout leaders over the past few year.
"It's just a great organization and it's an honor for the Elks to be involved," Waters said.
The Cub Scouts have grown from about 8 boys four years ago to 30, and will graduate five boys into Boys Scouts next year.
Among those advancing is Dakota Roach, who took the second place trophy for his derby win Saturday.
"It came in first in a couple of races, but was second overall," said Roach, 10. "I won second overall last year."
In addition to the Cub Scout races, the Pinewood Derby had one open division for families, which allowed girls, other family members and Boy Scouts to race.
Boy Scouts Troop No. 57 member Garrett Otterson won the family division with his derby car.
CONTACT Susan Meeker at 934-6800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.