While the idea behind the Pinewood Derby hasn't changed, the tools used to measure the races certainly has.
The Boy Scouts of Pack 19 in Muskego assembled Saturday afternoon at Muskego Elementary School to engage in competition, with about two dozen entries made by the scouts, with a little help from their parents.
The Scout is given a block of wood made of pine, four plastic wheels and four nails. The finished car must use all nine pieces, must not exceed a five ounces, must not exceed a certain length and must fit on the track used by the pack. Blocks can be whittled with a hand knife or a bandsaw or Dremel carving tool for major shaping. Decals can also applied to replicate actual racing cars.
That much hasn't changed since the event was first introduced in 1953.
However, Rob Glazier, scout master, said that they use a computer program to make sure the cars have a chance to race on each lane of the track, and against a completely different field of 'drivers' at each turn. In addition, each scout is given a 'driver's license' with their photo. The information is used to post the winner of each heat, along with their speeds.
"We use scale-speeds, which takes the speed of the cars we use here and estimate their speed if it were a real race car," Glazier explained. "The kids get a huge kick out of it when they see their car went 230 miles an hour."
The race results are also posted on a big screen projected on the wall of the gym.
Although this is a yearly pack event, organizers said that every few years scouts can participate in larger events if they qualify.