STEUBENVILLE - The Cub Scouts arrived at the Fort Steuben Mall early Saturday holding their Pinewood Derby cars carefully.
It was a day of serious business as each of the 131 wooden cars were weighed. measured and carefully inspected by the adult volunteers.
Any adjustments were made under the supervision of a Boy Scott volunteer supervisor at a nearby table.
READY TO RACE — Phillip Rawson and J.T. Pipo of Cub Scout Pack 141 of Toronto discussed racing strategy as they waited their turn to compete Saturday afternoon in one of a series of elimination heats at the annual Pinewood Derby at the Fort Steuben Mall Center Court. -- Dave Gossett
And then came the races.
The first place winner Saturday was Elijah Connell of Pack 415, Wintersville.
He was followed by second place winner Hunter Seminsky, Post 334, Weirton; Michael Buzzard of Pack 41, Wintersville in third place; Zone Shifflett, Pack 737, Wellsburg in fourth place; Austin Lewis, Pack 3, Steubenville in fifth place and Ian Folk, Pack 737, Wellsburg with a sixth place finish.
"We held triple elimination races all morning. We usually had five cars in each heat during the morning elimination. And it was tough at times because I tried to avoid putting racers from the same packs in the same race. But as the eliminations continued we started seeing boys from the same pack racing against each other," explained Race Chairman Joe Kovalesky.
His involvement with the Pinewood Derby started 26 years ago when his oldest son John was a Cub Scout.
"I have been very fortunate to have a core group of excellent volunteers. I served as master of ceremonies Friday night but on Saturday I am available for whatever needs to be done. But as you can see this event runs very smoothly and I think everyone has fun," he remarked.
"We got here about 3 p.m. on Friday to start setting up. The Pinewood Derby has some pretty stringent rules for the wooden cars but we all work together to make sure everyone meets the rules and can compete in the races. Dan Gamble runs the repair table and he will help the scouts make necessary last minute adjustments if they are needed," according to Kovalesky.
"Today was a good day. You can tell the kids and their families are getting more excited now that we are in the afternoon elimination races. The top three races in each heat move on to the next race until we finish with the final top six races," said Kovalesky.
"The Cub Scouts learn what competition is all about and also learn how to work with tools. It takes about eight hours to design and craft the car, sand it down and paint it," said Kovalesky.
"It was a long day but everyone enjoyed themselves. I'm tired but we had a very good day," commented Kovalesky as he prepared to dismantle the track.
Earlier Saturday afternoon Roy Shrieve of Pack 334 in Weirton said he was, "a little nervous," as he waited for his name to be called for a race.
"I like setting the car at the starting line and then waiting for them to come down the metal ramp and cross the finish line," the nine year old Shrieve stated.
"If my cousin Matthew gets involved in Cub Scouts I will help him with his Pinewood Derby car," Shrieve said.
Joe Bostaph Sr. stood with the group of Cub Scouts from Pack 334 of Weirton giving the four boys some final advice.
"I have been helping the pack for the past four years now but this is my first year being in charge. I help them learn how to use power tools the safe way. But the boys pick out the design for their cars, paint them and add the weights. And we all have fun," Bostaph explained.
And fun was what brought the adult volunteers and Boy Scouts to the mall on Friday night to compete for trophies in the Family Race Stock Class and Family Race Hot Rod Class.
Brock Snively came in first in the Stock Class followed by Jeremiah Campbell, Steve Seminsky, Jonnie Filler, Alayna Folk and Jordan Snively.
The Hot Rod Class was won by Karen Hill, followed by Joe Scugoza, Steve Seminsky, Ed Hill, Dave DeChristopher and Dave Vanbeveren.
"I won the Stock Car Class last year. It is a lot of fun and I'm glad I came back this year. I started racing five years ago when I was a Cub Scout and will probably keep racing," declared Buckeye Local seventh grader David Peshak.
His father David Sr. pointed to his son's Pinewood Derby winner sitting in front of last year's trophy.
"I don't know what the magic is with that car but it is a winner," he noted.
"This is an absolute blast for a lot of people," declared Greg Zolman of Wellsburg.
"My son is now in his seventh year of Pinewood Derby racing and after watching him I decided to build my own car this year. And the exciting thing is my son gets to do this for six more years. I am excited for him and for me because this is fun," Zolman said.
Each of the six winners were presented with a trophy, along with gift cards courtesy of Fort Steuben Mall.
Cub Scouts in the Two Chiefs district, which includes New Manchester, Weirton, Follansbee, Bethany and Wellsburg in West Virginia, and Freeport, Empire, Irondale, Bloomingdale, Richmond, Wintersville, Steubenville, Toronto and Martins Ferry in Ohio were invited to participate in the Pinewood Derby.