Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pinewood Derby Time!

There are special times in the life of a father and son that should be looked forward to.  For example, the first time you take your son fishing, or the first time you take your son hunting, or the first time you play catch with your son in the yard.  All of these things have been very special to me as a father and I am so glad that I have been able to experience them with my son.  With that in mind, I have to say that I have been waiting for this day for a long time.  Reid is in the 1st grade this year and is in the RA program at our church.  RA's is a great program for boys in the 1st through the 6th grades where they learn a lot about missions, God, and being better young men.  It also means Pinewood Derby Racing and this year Reid and I are gunning for the prize!!

We give the boys an opportunity to choose between a pre-cut car design or a squared off block of wood in which to design their own car.  Reid and I chose the block so that we would be eligible for the "best design" trophy.  A pre-cut car does not qualify for that award.  The boys are all judged on design, artwork and the ability to go fast down the track.  The 1st - 3rd graders (Lads) race against each other in a double elimination tournament, while the 4th - 6th graders (Crusaders) race against each other in their own bracket.  A winner is named in both divisions and then we bring all the boys together to determine the "Car of the Year".  The car that wins that race is displayed in the RA room in a special case for the next year.  All of the boys want that honor!

Reid and I took his square block of wood and tried to decide what we wanted to do with this soon to be work of art.  We started by trying to come up with a theme for his car.  We talked about an Atlanta Braves car and a Lightning McQueen car and a hunting car and a golf cart car, but I was pleased to hear him say that he wanted a Go Eagles (Georgia Southern) car.  My mind went to work on how we could make his car unique.  It would be very simple to cut out a car and give it a Georgia Southern paint job, but I wanted to do something a little different.  Besides, if my mad skills can not produce a fast car at least I could make one that looks really cool.  I spent some time on the Internet looking at different designs and decided that I would try and incorporate the Georgia Southern Eagle logo into our car design.  I'll let the pictures take care of the rest of the story.

After a quick trip to Mr. Bill's to use his saw, we came back to my shop to do some sanding and shaping.  Reid helped me or watched me in every step.  He is full of questions and I was happy to give him answers!

This is the design that I came up with.  The Eagle head is the academic logo of the school.  The rear of the car is an Eagle wing.
The next step is adding weight to the car so that it will travel faster.  You want to be as close to 5 oz without going over that you can.  I cut out a section on the back and put 1/4 oz weights in the hole.  I covered it with wood filler and sanded back into shape.
The painting process begins!
What car would be complete without racing stripes?

Some detailed painting by Mom adds feathers and we are ready to race!

The big day finally came on Wednesday.  All of the boys lined their cars up for the official weigh in and the races started promptly at 6:00pm.  It became apparent fairly quickly that Reid and I were not built for speed with our car design.  Reid lost his first two races in the double elimination tournament in his age division. He showed good sportsmanship and did not act very upset at his loss, but I was sure hoping that we could pull out at least one race in the overall competition.  We did just that as we one our next race!  He was so excited and jumped up and down.  We were promptly eliminated from the tournament on our next race, but one win was all we needed to keep a smile on his face!

The boys are lining them up for competition!

The RA Crew!
This next picture is what it is all about!  Reid may not have won many races, but he took home the trophy for best design!  He was so proud and I was so happy for him!  He had a big time and I could tell that he was proud as all his friends told him that he had the coolest car that they had ever seen!!

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!
I can't wait until next year!!


Steve said...

Great job, Reid! And Dad. Those are the moments you'll remember forever.

Ashlee said...

That's the coolest car I've ever seen! Go Reid!!

CHERI said...

Proud of both of's the time spent together though that was the biggest winner!