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Parents and kids, start your preparations for Pinewood Derby

The Rev. George Perry

The Rev. George Perry of St. Frederick’s Baptist Church of Marble Falls compares his finished pinewood derby car with pieces from a kit, which can be ordered online. The church is holding its first Pinewood Derby on July 22. Staff photo by Suzanne Freeman

The Rev. George Perry readied his custom car early for St. Frederick’s Baptist Church‘s first-ever Pinewood Derby. The race is still more than two months away, but he wants participants to have plenty of time to prepare. The more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it, he said.

He’s not talking about winning prizes for speed or looks, though there will be plenty of those.

“My idea is to get the parent and kid to work together on something,” Perry said. “The pine car derby is good because you build it together and paint it, and when you come the day of the derby, you participate together. It’s to get parents and kids to work together as one.” 

The Pinewood Derby is Friday, July 22, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at St. Frederick’s, 301 Avenue N in Marble Falls. The community is invited to participate.

First, second, and third place prizes will be awarded in each of the two categories: speed and style. Entry is $10. Free hot dogs will be served. 

The idea for a derby came to Perry as the two-year-old pandemic restrictions began to ease earlier this year. 

“I have talked to a lot of kids, and they said they have been in their rooms playing games while the parents are watching TV,” he said. “‘You stay out of my hair, I stay out of yours.’ It has caused a lot of stress and tension in families.” 

Working together building and racing a pinewood derby car is a simple step in bringing families back together, he continued. 

“The derby, to me, is geared so that the parents and the kids come together and work together on a project,” he said. 

The head start on the summer race is to give families time to plan and paint. 

While the church will have a few pine car kits on hand, they are cheap and easy to find online or at a craft store. Prices range from $6 to $10. Online orders are cheaper, Perry said. 

Cars and competition will follow official pinewood derby rules used by the Boy Scouts. The rules are posted online. For instance, the cars can weigh no more than 5 ounces. 

Today’s pinewood derby cars come pre-carved into the shape of a race car, but with a parent’s help, kids can carve their own original shape from a piece of balsa wood, which is how it was done when the first Pinewood Derby was held in 1953 in California