Pinewood Derby

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Pinewood Derby resources include the Official Cub Scout Rules, Tips, Drivers Licenses, Certificates,
planning ideas, and links to dozens of other sites who offer supplies and tips.
Cross-references are given for related Cub Scout Wolf, Bear, and Webelos requirements.

See Cub Scout Derbies at

The Pinewood Derby® is a popular Cub Scout activity. Pinewood derby cars are small wooden models that boys make with help from their families and then race in competition. The cars are powered by gravity and run down a regulation track. The pinewood derby is an annual event in most packs. It can be run indoors or outdoors. Every boy can design and build his own "grand prix" car to enter in the race. Pinewood Derby® is a registered trademark of the Boy Scouts of America.

Kits and supplies for the pinewood derby are available from the national Supply Division. See their Web site at Making Pinewood Derby cars can help meet requirements for Cubs at each level.


Planning Your Derby

All derbies and regattas have some things in common. They all require planning and preparation, they all involve competition and prizes, and they provide fun for boys and their families. Always remember that in Cub Scouting, it's more important to "Do Your Best" than to come in first.

Because the derby is a major event, it should be planned and prepared by its own program committee, which will need to:

  • Follow the guidelines for planning special pack activities found in chapter 6 of the Cub Scout Leader Book.
  • Publish your rules, including a time schedule. The Pinewood Derby Official Rules unfortunately allow motorized cars, hardwoods, etc.
  • Plan and carry out appropriate opening, award, and closing ceremonies.
  • Handle all aspects of awards, not only prizes for the "winners," but recognition for every boy for participating in the derby.
  • Plan for crowd control.
  • Devise a fair method of judging.
  • Plan and provide appropriate decorations with lots of boy participation.
  • You can find more information about derbies in the Cub Scout Grand Prix Pinewood Derby Guidebook.

Open Class

Many Packs also offer one of more Open Class races. In the Open Class, weight requirements are typically removed and non-BSA wheels or axles (nails) may be allowed. Cub Scouts might also be allowed to race previous year's cars in the Cub Scout Open Class. Parents might be able to build their own cars for the Adult Open Class. Boy Scouts might be able to race their old cars or build new cars for a Boy Scout Class. Many Packs use the Open class races as great fundraising opportunities by charging a small extra fee to race in the open class. Even in Open Class, many Packs also prohibit rocket engines due to fire concerns and still need height or clearance requirements, etc. so that the car can safely travel down the track.

Pinewood Derby Licenses

Click here to print: Pinewood Derby Licenses
Click here to print: Pinewood Derby Licenses
Pinewood License

Every Cub Scout should be recognized for doing his best.

The free MeritBadge.Org Pinewood Derby Licenses Adobe Acrobat PDF are an easy way to recognize every boy. With eight colorful licenses per page, you can quickly print enough for every Cub. Additional "honorary licenses" can recognize others who helped. On race day fill out the cards for the boys who participate.

Pinewood Derby Certificates

Pinewood Certificate

The Pinewood Derby Certificate Blank Adobe Acrobat PDF prints matching 8½" x 11" certificates! Just write in the names and awards on race day. Better yet, use the Interactive Pinewood Derby Certificate Microsoft Word DOC document to pre-print everything but their names ahead of time. Enter your Pack # and race date and choose awards like: Best Design, Best Detail, Best In Show, Best Theme, Cubmaster's Pick, Judge's Favorite, Most Aerodynamic, Most Colorful, Most Unique, etc. Every Cub should be recognized for doing his best.

Pinewood Derby Awards

Cub Scout Pack often use the Pinewood Derby® as a special Pack Meeting or at a Blue and Gold Banquet. Trophies or awards are often presented for each level: Tiger, Wolf, Bear, Webelos I, and Webelos II. Special medals are available:

Pinewood Derby® Car medals, with red, white, and blue ribbons, Cub Scout, above left pocket: blue background, No. 610204; red background, No. 610205; white background, No. 610206.

A Great Recruiting Tool

Your Pinewood Derby can be your best recruiting tool. Instead of a Roundup sales pitch or slide show, instead invite the local kindergarten classes to come to your Pinewood Derby. Ask each Cub to invite friends to come along. Once they see the Pinewood Derby, they will be hooked! If you already have had your Pinewood Derby, you can still set up the track during the Roundup and let you boys show off their previous cars!

Cub Scout Derbies

Cub Scout derbies—the Pinewood Derby, Raingutter Regatta, and Space Derby—are optional but valuable activities for Cub Scouts. Many men who once were Cub Scouts fondly recall their derby experiences: planning the design of their vehicle, working with a parent to build it, and seeing it perform on race day when, win or lose, they could take pride in having done their best. In this way, the three basic lessons learned by participating in a Cub Scout derby—the craft skills, the rules of fair play, and good sportsmanship—are remembered for a lifetime.

Pinewood Derby and Fundraising

Main article: Fundraising

There are many great opportunities for fundraising at your Pinewood Derby:

  • Charge a fee per entrant in an open class for siblings and another for adults so that they can compete.
  • Concession stand sales (food can be donated in exchange for the sign or flier advertising it will generate.)
  • Bake sale: each Scout makes a cake, cookies, or brownies to be sold or auctioned. You can also give Bake Sale prizes.
  • Silent auction (items and services can be donated in exchange for the sign or flier advertising it will generate.)
  • Ads in the program and sponsorships - but never donations without something of fair value in return.

Note that the Eight Rules state that selling raffle tickets or other games of chance is a direct violation of the BSA Rules and Regulations, which forbid gambling. Also, Adult and youth members shall not be permitted to serve as solicitors of money. See Fundraising and Pack Fundraising Chair for much more.


The full article is at: Scouting Magazine's Origins of the Pinewood Derby

The first pinewood derby was held on May 15, 1953, in Manhattan Beach, California by Pack 280c, organized by Cubmaster Don Murphy. In the 1980's, the design of the block was changed from a cutout block to a solid block and the tires were changed to wider "slicks". The pinewood derby was selected as part of "America's 100 Best" in 2006 as "a celebrated rite of spring" by Reader's Digest. Similar Cub Scouting events include the raingutter regatta with boats and the space derby using rubber band powered rockets.

Related Awards

  • Tiger Cub Electives 17. Make a Model: You could make a Pinewood Derby model car or a Space Derby model rocket, etc.
  • Wolf 5. Tools for Fixing and Building - use tools to build a Pinewood Derby car, Space Derby Rocket, etc.
  • Wolf Electives 3e. Or make something else. Make a Pinewood Derby car, Space Derby Rocket, etc.
  • Bear *21a. Build a model from a kit. or 21f. Make a model of a rocket, boat, car, or plane. Make a Pinewood Derby car, Space Derby Rocket, etc.
Webelos Activity Awards
  • Craftsman 2. Construct wooden objects - one might be Pinewood Derby car, Space Derby Rocket, etc.
  • Artist 9. Make an art construction, using your choice of materials. - Make and decorate a Pinewood Derby car, Space Derby Rocket, etc.

See also

Best Design Best In Show Cubmaster's Pick Judge's Favorite Best Detail Best Paint Job
Most Colorful Most Original Most Realistic Most Aerodynamic Most Innovative Best Theme
Most Artistic Best Workmanship Most Decals Best Dragster Best Classic Design Most Futuristic
Best Scout Theme Best Truck Design Best Wedge Shape Most Creative Most Unique Most Patriotic
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