ST. PAULS — When members of Cub Scout Pack 344 in St. Pauls were tasked with turning tiny blocks of wood into toy cars, they let their imaginations run wild.
The 21 entries in the scouts’ annual Pinewood Derby, which was held on Jan. 25 at the Woodmen of the World Center on West Broad Street, included several one-of-a-kind creations — from futuristic concept cars to vehicles outfitted with tree branches, Lego figurines, sports team logos, and other personal touches.
The Scouts had about a month to design their entries.
From 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., cubs split into groups of two and sent their cars careening down a long metal ramp. This year, the pack adopted a new computer system that matched up racers and used sensors built into the track to record the cars’ time and speed.
“It takes the human error out,” Cub Master Joel Bradford said. “When I was a Cub Scout, we didn’t have brackets or anything, it was just kids racing and having a good time.”
While the process has grown slightly more complicated over the years, the activity of racing miniature cars remains as fun as ever, according to several scouts in attendance.
“My favorite part was racing and seeing the different cars,” said 10-year-old Bradley Gooden.
“I liked seeing everyone and racing,” said 9-year-old Landon Dudley.
After the races were over, the entries were judged in a number of different categories, including fastest looking, most futuristic and strangest shape.
Following the judging, the afternoon’s best racers were recognized. Christopher Rice came in first place; Cameron Karshner came in second place; and Achron Marcum came in third place.
The three, along with Dudley, will go on to compete in the District Derby in Pembroke.