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A good ol' fashioned race
April 14, 2012, 05:00 AM

Erik Oeverndiek/Daily Journal Frank Tucker, left, checks the size and weight of Alexander Velez

By Heather Murtagh

Daily Journal Staff

Racing cars — a dream for children of all ages — will come true Saturday afternoon in San Mateo at the annual Cub Scouts: Pinewood Derby.

This week, with their pinewood cars on hand, competitors registered the vehicles. The designs needed to meet certain specifications in size and weight. But there’s also a chance to be recognized for beauty. For the first time, the event will be held in a large public venue — the Hillsdale Shopping Center.

The race represents the top cars from local Cub Scout packs racing for the trophy and the title. Weighing no more than 5 ounces, each car is part of a race and a contest, explained Steve Aguirre, Redwood District executive for the Boy Scouts of America, Pacific Skyline Council.

Participants can race in the official class finals, for the scouts who were victorious in their individual pack races, and the outlaw class, which is open to everyone else. Lastly, there’s a design contest, which looks at the decor of the vehicles. To participate, racers had to register their cars Tuesday evening in Foster City. Aguirre’s favorite car looks like an ice cream sandwich, he said.

More than 100 racers are expected to participate. Those who didn’t have a chance to enter a car won’t be completely out of luck. A suspended track with Lego cars will be on hand for those walking by to use.

Given the public space, the local scout leaders are also excited to reintroduce the public to the organization and the programs offered locally.

District Chair Tom Mullins explained the Boy Scouts offers youth character development and values-based leadership training — which are always needed, he added.

"It’s actually pretty simple. People have heard about these programs but haven’t heard from [the scouts] in a while,” he said.

On Saturday, people will have a chance to learn about the local programs like Cub Scouts, which works with boys ages 6 to 10; Boy Scouts, which works with children ages 11 to 18; and Venturing, which is a co-ed group for teens ages 14 to 20.

"We have a little bit of everything,” Mullins said.

Both Aguirre and Mullins agreed the derby is one of the most anticipated annual events. And while the youngsters have fun, it’s also a big draw for the dads.

The Cub Scouts: Pinewood Derby will be held from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 14 in the center court in front of Macy’s at the Hillsdale Shopping Center, 60 31st Ave., San Mateo. For more information on Pacific Skyline Council, Boy Scouts of America, visit Those interested in partnering with local scouts on community service projects can contact Aguirre at

Heather Murtagh can be reached by email: or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 105.

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