IVINS — Veterans and Boy Scouts came together Saturday at the Southern Utah Veterans Home in Ivins for a pinewood derby, which is the crafting and racing of wooden cars — a pastime that has been popular since 1953.
At Saturday’s meet, cars built by the staff and residents of the Veterans Home hit the track. Boy Scouts from Troop 0509, sponsored by the Dixie Elks Lodge, were on hand to present the colors, lead the flag salute, and shuttle the cars back and forth from the display table to the track for the races.
This is the second year the Veterans Home has hosted the pinewood derby. Last year, there were only six entries; this year, 64 cars vied to be king of the track.
A block of wood, four wheels and four nails are what participants use to make their cars. All nine parts must be used; the weight of the car must not exceed 5 ounces; the car must meet width and length requirements; and, most of all, the car must fit on the track.
Tracks have changed in the last 60 years. The track at Saturday’s event had a highly polished metal surface, an electronic starting mechanism and computer timing.
Residents and staff took turns gathering around the finish line to watch their cars run down the track. The delight on the faces of the participants was evident — even when their cars did not win a particular race.
Cars were running at scale speeds of 200 miles an hour and more, taking less than four seconds to speed down the track. Scale speed is a measure of how fast a derby car goes in relation to its full-size counterpart. For instance, a 1:64 scale car with a scale speed of 110 mph has an actual speed of just under 2 mph.
About the Southern Utah Veterans Home
The Southern Utah Veterans Home provides accommodation and long-term care to veterans and their spouses. The organization’s mission statement says: “We are a community providing quality of life and quality of care with dignity and honor to Veterans and families.”
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