Cub Scout Pack 77

Pack 77’s Pinewood Derby

On Saturday, Feb. 3, Cub Scouts Pack 77 of Port Washington hosted a Pinewood Derby. The Pinewood Derby is a wood car racing event for the Scouts of America. Scouts build their own un-powered, unmanned miniature cars from wood and race them on a track.

Cub Master for Pack 77, Vicki Nielsen shared that Pack 77 has been around for a number of years in Port, along with Boy Scout Troop 7. Cub Scout Pack 77 has about 70 scouts ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade. And Nielsen stepped into help guide the pack during COVID when the pack numbers took a significant hit.

“I stepped in because my son has been through the program, he was an Eagle and he’s in college now. But I didn’t want the Cub Scout Pack to fold and then, of course, affect the Troop 7 Boy Scout Troop, because it’s the feeder troop,” said Nielsen. “So, we started with about 12 kids a couple of years ago, and we were able to grow significantly the past few years. Now we have a pretty big group.”

Pack 77 hosted a Pinewood Derby which is a long-standing tradition for scouts to participate in. A few weeks prior to the derby, Pack 77 gave out the kits to make the cars and hosted a workshop where scouts could come build their cars.

“They’re all given a kit, which is basically a block of wood, only about six inches or so, with four wheels and four axles. Each has this pre-drilled axle, but you can shape your car in any way you want to, whether it’s a race car, whether it’s a tractor, or whatever they want,” explained Nielsen. “The whole point is to design it. Then cut it, if you have tools at home or you come to the workshop. And sand it down, paint it and decorate it.”

“Obviously you want it to go fast, so there are a lot of tricks that deep dive into the world of derby, but the car can be no more than five ounces,” said Nielsen. “People add weights, you can drill a hole inside the car and add weights or you can put it right on top. You’re making it aerodynamic and making sure it runs. The little kids do their best and they race against each other. As they get older, they learn a little bit more tricks of the trade, and some of the dads help them, and they get really into it.”

The Pinewood Derby has a race track with a digital timer. The kids all race against each other during a base run and computer software groups the kids with similar times together for the races.

“We have overall winners for each of the dens, which are broken up into age groups,” said Nielsen. “They all get overall winners in their den, and then we have a grand prize for first, second and third. And this year we had a fun thing where the adults had a race of their own with their own car because they’re big kids in heart.”

To learn more about Pack 77, visit or email [email protected]

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