Eden Prairie Cub Scouts from Pack 479 and Pack 597 raced more than 100 pinewood derby cars at Eden Prairie Center on Sunday, Feb. 5.
Scouts in kindergarten to fifth grade independently began designing their cars in December and took part in the first stage of the racing competition Sunday at the mall.
“There’s a lot of variety, a lot of creativity,” said Nick Pudenz, Pack 479 Pinewood Derby coordinator, “You give everybody a kit and you never know what’s going to come back.”
The races are divided into dens by grade and the top three from each advance to the finale. The winners then go on to district and council competitions.
Each car must weigh less than 5 ounces, be no taller than 3 inches, and be no longer than 7 inches. These rules date back to the 1950s.
“It’s something that like a son, father, grandfather, they all had the same rules in the same event, basically.” Pudenz said.
The first Pinewood Derby race was held in 1953, when Soap Box Racing, popular at the time, was reserved for older kids.
This is the second year the Pinewood Derby has taken place at the mall, with attendance growing to include extended families and mall shoppers.
Discussions with Eden Prairie Center about hosting the event started during the COVID-19 pandemic when the usual school gymnasium had a policy of not allowing outside events.
Each year, Pudenz observes advancements in the design of the Cub Scouts’ cars.
“The hope is that, you know, towards the end, that they have a lot more experience, a lot more like aptitude in engineering.” Pudenz said.
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