PLATTSBURGH - Organizers of a districtwide Cub Scout Adirondack Pinewood Derby are getting excited for the event, which hasn't taken place in several years.
Cub Scouts who participated in individual Pack races, will have the unique opportunity this Saturday, May 14, to race against a larger driver base.
For Rick Weerts, a former Boy Scout and current pack leader, this distinction is pivotal.
"This is a tradition the Cub Scouts have been doing for 50 years," said Weerts. "The last couple of years there has not been a district-wide event - some packs in the district are pretty small; you might have five or six kids in a group, so giving awards to first, second, and third place its no big deal."
The derby-wide race has a significantly larger number of drivers, so much so that there will be two divisions of races- Tiger Cubs and Wolves - with children competing in age-specific groups.
Also new this year, is the derby venue at the Champlain Valley Transportation Museum, located at 8 Museum Way.
Ashley Keene, director of fundraising and membership for the museum, said the idea for the new venue presented itself in January when the museum hosted a wine festival fundraiser.
"The opportunity really presented itself for the museum to provide that space," said Keene, who added the new location represents a growing partnership between the two organizations, with the museum making plans to create an indoor derby car construction area.
"In the future," said Keene, "we are hoping to create a wood shop on the museum campus where local kids in the community can come and build their cars."
For Keene, these plans are specifically geared towards helping families without the resources to build cars.
"Especially for low-income families, and single-parent families, this will give everybody a chance to build a car and race it," she said.
Weerts echoed Keene's concerns.
"Some single parent households don't have a workshop," he said.
The museum location will also provide a welcome distraction for spectators, noted Weerts, adding the museum has "graciously offered us to tour without charge."
In addition to encouraging friendly competition and community involvement, this Saturday's event is designed "to just get kids to spend some times with their families," emphasized Weerts.
"It's about the son and father or mother or other caregiver spending some time together," he said.
Weert also expressed gratitude towards North Country Mustang Club who donated several boxes of trophies that they had from previous events.
"We have some great trophies that a pack wouldn't buy on their own," said Weerts.
Keene expressed enthusiasm for the upcoming race, and other developments.
The Pinewood Derby will begin Saturday with registration at 9 a.m., and races to follow. Refreshments will be available, with all proceeds going to benefit Scouting in the Adirondacks.