GRADY SATTERFIELD, 11, carefully places his car on the track for optimal performance during Saturday’s Cub Scout Pack 699 Pinewood Derby at Bowdoinham Community School.

GRADY SATTERFIELD, 11, carefully places his car on the track for optimal performance during Saturday’s Cub Scout Pack 699 Pinewood Derby at Bowdoinham Community School.

BOWDOINHAM

It’s all about having fun and there isn’t supposed to be any crying, said Chris Mann of Bowdoinham.

The 10-year-old is a member of Cub Scout Pack 699 and was one of several Bowdoinham Cub Scouts competing in the annual Pinewood Derby on Saturday at Bowdoinham Community School.

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT, Damien Hale, 10, won best of show; Aidan Fisette, 8, won fourth place; Alex Skolfield, 9, won third place; Chase Hardee, 7, won second place and Grady Satterfield, 11, won the first place trophy during Bowdoinham Cub Scout's Pinewood Derby Saturday held at Bowdoinham Community School.

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT, Damien Hale, 10, won best of show; Aidan Fisette, 8, won fourth place; Alex Skolfield, 9, won third place; Chase Hardee, 7, won second place and Grady Satterfield, 11, won the first place trophy during Bowdoinham Cub Scout’s Pinewood Derby Saturday held at Bowdoinham Community School.

The winner, 11-year-old Grady Satterfield, took home his first, first-place trophy and will go on to compete in the district derby next Saturday at Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham. He’s come in second before too.

Satterfield, a Webelo for two years within the pack, said Saturday’s derby was his fourth year participating.

“I think this is a very fun time,” Satterfield said Saturday. “It’s very fun building the car and then bringing it here and then you can move on to district and states, and I think it’s very fun.”

The tracks at each level increase in quality. Saturday the cars raced down a wood track that has to be manually timed for the final round, and everyone races on both tracks to eliminate any advantage of one over the other.

You want to make your car skinny, said Satterfield, and get it to 5 ounces. Sometimes you have to add weight to the car. Satterfield said this year he decided to take more weight out of the middle of the car. He painted his car blue and named it USA with a red and white stripe through the middle of the letters.

The activity enhances the scout’s building skills, to know that you’ve worked on a car and are racing it.

“It’s a big accomplishment,” Satterfield said.

“It’s supposed to be fun and there’s not supposed to really be any crying,” said Mann.

But sometimes there are tears shed when competitor’s cars don’t do as

“What I really like about this derby,” Mann said, “is that all of the kids have fun and we try our hardest to make them feel good, so I think it’s a really good pack because we cheer for the other people and sometimes you don’t want to cheer for the other people. I just think that people have really good sportsmanship, they’re really nice and they try to support you as much as they can.”

Mann agreed what makes a good car is one that weighs in at exactly 5 ounces, so you don’t have to add weight or drill out the car to subtract weight. Adding coins at the derby isn’t as effective as melting down metal and adding it to the car in advance. He also has some ideas for wheel placement for next year to minimize friction. And the car needs to be aerodynamic. There are many shapes to choose from.

“If you have good goals for yourself than it’s probably going to happen,” Mann said. “You have to be ready to get disappointed at the end. It could be really close. You have to be ready for it.”

Bottom line is, Mann said: “Have fun!”

Mann’s mother, Athena Mann, is a pack leader for Cub Scout Pack 699 and said Cub Scouts encompasses grades first through fifth grade, and then the boys go onto a troop.

The Pinewood Derby is about having fun and a big component is teaching the kids woodworking skills and craftsmanship. It is also about how the boys handle themselves.

“Scouting is a really good environment for experiencing life situations before it’s a big deal, and how do you recover from a loss,” she said. “Maybe you car is not the best car, but it’s OK.”

There are awards for the top fastest cars but there is also a best in show award for the car that looks cool. Often the parents will help cut out the car with a jigsaw, for example, which the scouts can’t use.

Acknowledging the uniforms cost money, “We try to have all families participate in cub scouting, and then we find ways to make it work,” Athena Mann said. “They have a uniform closet we go to, to get a uniform for a boy who can’t afford it,” and people in the community or pack have donated. The pack also does fundraising so it can raise money to take trips, “to earn their own way.”

Anyone interested in joining Cub Scouts in the Bowdoinham area can call Athena Mann at 737-4641 or email [email protected]; or visit www.beascout.org to find a Cub Scout pack or Boy Scout troop near you.


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