Ten-year-old Webelos Scout Gavrie Chuhralya and his dad, Maj. Jeremy Chuhralya, Command and General Staff College student, point out some of the creatively designed Pinewood Derby car entries during the derby check-in Jan. 29 at the Frontier Conference Center. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

Katie Peterson | Staff Writer

Star Wars, Harry Potter and Hamilton were just a few of the inspirations for car designs seen during the Cub Scouts Pinewood Derby Jan. 30 at the Frontier Conference Center.
More than 75 Cub Scouts from Pack 1 participated in the annual event.


“The Pinewood Derby is an optional activity within Cub Scouts. For Pack 1, it is a very large event, and we put a lot of effort into it,” said Jake Spangler, Eisenhower Tigers den leader. “The idea is the Scout, with the assistance of their family, they take a block of wood, four nails and four plastic wheels, and they turn it into a racecar.

Gwynn Pierce, Cub Scouts Pack 1 membership chairperson and unit commissioner, weighs 8-year-old Bear Scout Logan Halchimar’s Pinewood Derby car entry as Logan and his mother, Leia Ngirmidol, check in at the pre-race event Jan. 29 at the Frontier Conference Center. The actual derby was conducted Jan. 30 by a few volunteers in person and broadcast over the internet for Scouts and parents to watch. Check-in times were staggered over the three days before the derby for the Scouts to bring their cars in, have their cars weighed, make last-minute improvements like adding weight and graphite, and give their cars a test run on the track. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp


“Some focus on the design aspect and let their imagination go wild,” he said. “Then it’s the rush of seeing the car that they put time into … race down the track, go across the finish line, win a heat, maybe win their grade, maybe take home the overall fastest car.”
Because of COVID-19 precautions, Scouts checked-in their cars and tested them on the racetrack in scattered groups Jan. 27-29 and then watched their cars race via videoteleconference on race day.

Six-year-old Lion Scouts Philip Beery and Thomas Beery watch their cars cross the finish line during a test run at the Pinewood Derby check-in Jan. 29 at the Frontier Conference Center. The boys’ cars raced at about 112 miles per hour in their first test run, but after adding a few weights and some graphite for wheel lubricant, the boys’ derby entries improved to more than 145 miles per hour in their second test run. Philip and Thomas’ cars placed first and second, respectively, in the kindergarten Lion category the day of the race, Jan. 30. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp


During each race, “broadcasters” narrated the event, treating it like a real sports broadcast, and three camera angles were shown on the race, Spangler said.
“The hope is that they still get the feel of the excitement of the race watching it through the camera,” he said.


Joy Roberts, Cub Scouts Pack 1 advancement chairperson, said she hopes it helps make the event as normal an experience as possible.

Six-year-old Tiger Scout Ryder Yamauchi, 8-year-old Bear Scout Logan Halchimar, 5-year-old Jude Yamauchi and 3-year-old Hunter Yamauchi look at the Pinewood Derby entries, including Ryder’s “Speedy Steve” car and Logan’s “Shark Attack” car, during derby check-in Jan. 29 at the Frontier Conference Center. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp


“Normally, they’re sitting right here at the blue line and they’re watching every heat go down,” Roberts said. “We’re trying really hard to get that reality of them being right here in the room with us.”


Leia Ngirmidol, den volunteer and mother of Bear Cub Scout Logan Halchimar, 8, said she appreciated the efforts of those who put it together.


“I think it’s great that they’re able to pull it together even while in the environment that we’re in now,” she said. “It’s just amazing how many people are coming in to make it happen, and I think it’s pretty impressive.”


Scouts had different reasons why they were excited for the race.


“It’s fun to do,” said Arrow of Light Scout Josh Myers, 11, who participated for his final year before he joins Scouts BSA in March. “It gets people in a creative mode to build their own cars and think about what they want to do (with the design).”

As seen from the computer screen, Gwynn Pierce, Cub Scouts Pack 1 membership chairperson and unit commissioner, sets a car on the track for a test run during Pinewood Derby check-in Jan. 29 at the Frontier Conference Center. The actual derby was conducted Jan. 30 by a few volunteers in person and broadcast over the internet for Scouts and parents to watch. Check-in times were staggered over the three days before the derby for the Scouts to bring their cars in, have their cars weighed, make last-minute improvements like adding weight and graphite, and give their cars a test run on the track. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp


Myers said he designed his car to look like a canoe to symbolize his upcoming crossover ceremony into Scouts BSA. Myers won first place in the “Best in Show” category for his grade.

Six-year-old Tiger Scout Ella Gorgoglione poses for her Pinewood Derby driver’s license photo, taken by her mom, Chelsey Gorgoglione, during Pinewood Derby check-in Jan. 29 at the Frontier Conference Center. Ella’s car placed first for speed in her age category. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp


Sisters Bear Cub Mia Gorgoglione, 8, and Tiger Cub Ella Gorgoglione, 6, said they looked forward to the Pinewood Derby, but they had differing outcome opinions.


“I don’t really want to win because trophies just sit up on the shelf and you just stare at them,” said Mia Gorgoglione. “You don’t really get to play with them at all.”
Ella Gorgoglione disagreed.

Ten-year-old Webelos Scout Gavrie Chuhralya’s orange-and-silver car, which he dubbed “The Silver Blur,” is parked in its assigned place at the Pinewood Derby check-in Jan. 29, the day before the race. Gavrie’s car placed third for best in show in his age category. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp


“Trophies look really cool and I want one,” she said. “My sister just wants to (race).”
Mia took second-place in her grade and Ella took first place in her grade.

Kenny Faught, Pinewood Derby chairperson, adds graphite around the wheels of 6-year-old Lion Scout Philip Beery’s car to help them spin faster during derby check-in Jan. 29 at the Frontier Conference Center. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp


Trophies were awarded for the top racers in each grade and the most creative cars.

Pinewood Derby results

Pinewood Derby trophies were awarded Jan. 30 for the top three overall fastest cars, the three fastest cars in each age category, and for the top three “best in show,” voted as the most creatively decorated, in each age category. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

Championship Races
1st Place: Aiden Dillenback (Webelos)
2nd Place: Garrett King (Wolf)
3rd Place: Dexter Schmidt (Webelos)

Lions (Kindergarten)
1st Place: Philip Beery
2nd Place: Thomas Beery
3rd Place: Ethan Stokes

Tigers (1st Grade)
1st Place: Ella Gorgoglione
2nd Place: Cole Depolo
3rd Place: Alison Brooks

Wolves (2nd Grade)
1st Place: Garrett King
2nd Place: Michael Merriss
3rd Place: Carter Sheets

Bears (3rd Grade)
1st Place: Lukas Beaudry
2nd Place (tie): Mia Gorgoglione
2nd Place (tie): Willard Lewman

Webelos (4th Grade)
1st Place: Aiden Dillenback
2nd Place: Dexter Schmidt
3rd Place: Kale Hollingsworth

Arrow of Light (5th Grade)
1st Place: Lanie Wahab
2nd Place: Mason Sheets
3rd Place: Dylan Brookshire

“Best in Show”


Lions (Kindergarten)
1st Place: Madeline Baldwin
2nd Place: Jackson Henke
3rd Place: Charlotte Birtles

Tigers (1st Grade)
1st Place: Alison Brooks
2nd Place: Ben Burnett
3rd Place: Caleb Beeman

Wolves (2nd Grade)
1st Place: Carter Sheets
2nd Place: Bradley Vance
3rd Place: Caleb Churchill

Bears (3rd Grade)
1st Place: Westin Kellington
2nd Place: Lukas Beaudry
3rd Place: Madilynn Teeter

Webelos (4th Grade)
1st Place: Samuel Inkenbrandt
2nd Place: TJ Kallo
3rd Place: Gavrie Chuhralya

Arrow of Light (5th Grade)
1st Place: Joshua Myers
2nd Place: Calvin Roberts
3rd Place: Kade Faught

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