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Pinewood Derby teaches valuable life lessons to youngsters

Eight-year-old Lucas Wollmuth (left) wPeople's Choice Award his 6-year-old brohter Cadyn took home first-place trophy racing competitiPinewood Derby. | JIM

Eight-year-old Lucas Wollmuth (left) won the People's Choice Award, and his 6-year-old brohter Cadyn took home the first-place trophy in the racing competition at the Pinewood Derby. | JIM NEWTON/SUN-TIMES MEDIA

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Updated: March 18, 2014 6:24AM

In the tradition of great car-racing families throughout the ages, two sets of brothers took home the trophies Saturday at the Cub Scout Super Pack 199 Pinewood Derby.

Racing homemade cars on a unique 30-year-old pine track in the Round Lake Area Park District’s community center, Cub Scouts age 6-11 continued the Pinewood Derby tradition held across the country this time of year.

The derby gives kids a chance to work with their fathers and or mothers to craft a car, and then to learn about gracious winning and losing when they put their cars on the line against the competition, said Scoutmaster Iain Abernathy.

That mission was accomplished.

“This is the first year we haven’t had a crier,” Abernathy said. “Usually, we’d have a first- or second-grader who thought his car was best and was disappointed.”

But there were smiles all around as both scouts and parents didn’t let the competition get the better of them. And preparation for the event also stressed equality, as Pinewood Derby cars built by the dads with the best tools have been known to win a race or two.

“We held a Pinewood Derby workshop ahead of time so all the kids had access to the cool tools,” said Dan Ryan, one of the event organizers. Close adult supervision was also provided.

After the heats were completed, twin brothers Bryan and Brayden O’Connor, 8, of Round Lake Beach, took second and third place, respectively.

Coming in first with the fastest car was Cadyn Wollmuth, 6, of Round Lake, who was somewhat dwarfed by his trophy. His older brother Lucas, 8, won the People’s Choice Award for best car, decided by a vote.

After his win, Cadyn, participating in his second derby, said he felt that he would win coming in, but admitted that “my belly was scared.”

Cadyn said his mother helped with the artistic design of his car. When asked what made his car the fastest, he pointed to some strategically placed lead weights. “Maybe these,” he said.

Lucas said his attention to detail, right down to the wheels, may have helped him win the vote for people’s choice.

“We polished the wheels,” he said. “I thought maybe polishing the wheels will win.”

Lee Benedict, who also helped run the event, said it is one of the favorite activities of the year for Pack 199, which picked up the name “Super Pack” over the years, in part because of its roots, which go back about 38 years.

“It’s fun with a purpose,” he said of both the Pinewood Derby and scouting.

Those interested in joining Pack 199 or another Cub Scout pack in their area can find more information at

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