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Derby day for the scouts in Yuba City
It's no wonder Conner Myerson has the sleekest, fastest car of any around.
With a Beale Air Force Base mechanic — his dad — as his crew chief and co-car designer, the father-son duo worked together to paint the sleek black pinewood derby entry with a camouflage hood and USA written on its tail. But it was more likely the weight and aerodynamics of the small wooden racer that snared the 7-year-old the title of Buttes Area District Pinewood Derby Champion on Saturday.
"It's fun watching my car go down and how fast it can go," the boy said, as his pinewood masterpiece edged out all other competition at the third annual Community Celebration of Scouting.
Dozens of scouts, their families and community members had gathered at the LDS Recreational Facility in Yuba City for an exhausting 231⁄2 hours of continuous pinewood derby racing and morning Scout-O-Rama, where Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts showcased their skills.
Starting Friday afternoon, the compact wooden cars began whizzing down the track and did not stop until Conner was crowned champ and his father took first place in the Buttes Area Cup, bringing pride to Pack No. 64.
Conner narrowly edged out Christian Johnson of Pack No. 389 and his cheese-wedge car to win first place. The Yuba City boy was disappointed by his loss but happy he made it so far with his hand-carved car and the pennies and screws glued onto its undercarriage.
"It feels awesome," he said.
Derby entries had been carved and painted to look like sleek sports cars, vintage sedans and muscle machines. A few were more lighthearted, designed like sharks, wrapped gifts and even a banana.
"On your car, you can basically put anything, but it can't be more than 5 ounces," said Carson Bushnell, 11. "All you have to do is be creative."
Bushnell, a member of Pack No. 43, said he waits for the pinewood derby races all year, but when the day finally comes, it's nerve-wracking.
"You are always watching your car and praying it will do well," he said. "You are waiting for it to cross the finish line."
Daniel Wankmuller of Pack No. 6 added weights in the back and graphite to the wheels for speed. But most importantly, his car was shaped like a slice of pizza, complete with pepperoni pennies.
"It's aerodynamic, so the wind will come off the sides," the 11-year-old said. "I'm competitive, so I like winning."
A major attraction throughout the 231⁄2-hour derby — which organizers hope will set a world record — was an elaborate recreational track that included a loop-de-loop and jump. Meanwhile, other scouts lobbed water balloons across a field, tested their balance on the "monkey bridge," and gave demonstrations to curious passers-by.
Representing Girl Scout Troop No. 1916, Yuba City residents Heidi Cheim, 11, and Jeanna Jarvis, 10, taught people how to make friendship bracelets and tie-dye bandanas for their junior journey badge. They also cooked pretzel rolls and a batch of monkey bread in Dutch and box ovens.
"We can teach them to do these things," Jeanna said. "It's really easy to do."
Cory Willert, 17, helped host a camping display for Boy Scout Troop No. 647 and explained the difference between car camping and backcountry supplies to passers-by. People peered in his set-up tent, admired the bread loaf-sized sleeping bag and admired the other supplies.
"Camping is one of the strengths of scouting. And it's just a good skill to have." Willert explained, adding that it's one of his favorite activities. "It's just a few days to get away from your problems and worries and enjoy yourself and your company."
CONTACT Ashley Gebb at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4783. Find her on Facebook at /ADagebb or on Twitter at @ADagebb.