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Cubmaster’s Guide to the Pinewood Derby

Ideas to make your Cub Scout Pack’s Pinewood Derby a Success!

Cub Scout pack pinewood derby planning guide header image showing a pinewood derby in background with derbies made easy ebook in front

Derbies Made Easy eBook


The most exciting Pinewood Derby events require lots of planning and lots of volunteers to help with the event. This can be a little daunting to manage! Download Derbies Made Easy or read the Pinewood Derby guide Derbies Made Easy online


Top Tips for a Successful Pinewood Derby

  • • Develop a set of rules for all to follow.
  • • Hold a competition that allows scouts to experience winning and losing.
  • • Encourage and enable interaction between parent and cub.
  • • Ask local officials to participate.
  • • Recognize every Scout for achievement.
  • • Provide lots of fun for every attendee.

Promoting your Pinewood Derby

pinewood derby banner

Promotion of the event is important to build the anticipation, encourage participation, and also let more people know your Pack is active and doing exciting things. Within the Pack membership, make a Derby flyer that the Den Leaders can distribute to the parents, include how fun and exciting its going to be. Sending out email reminders can help remind busy parents! The most successful item that also raises awareness is using a Pinewood Derby Vinyl Banner. Post the banner outside your meeting place so people driving buy can see it. Place Pinewood Derby posters and flyers at the school and church or somewhere appropriate to reach the parents.
A well promoted Pinewood Derby is a great tool to help with recruiting next fall!

Pinewood Derby Promotion Ideas
  • • Get listed on community event websites
  • • Banners by the road and at school
  • • Snipe Signs
  • • Ask local officials to participate
  • • Hold it in a public place

Recognition for Scouts and Volunteers

Recognition for Scouts

“Looking back on my experience as a Wolf, it meant a lot to me to get that small trophy. I really felt I had achieved something. I think all the scouts should get some form of recognition for the efforts in building the car. Best participant options are a small trophy, a patch, or a ribbon. Trophies are great to pass out at your Blue and Gold Banquet, but a bit cumbersome to do the day of the event. We felt ribbons were a bit lame, so we made a Pinewood Derby Participation Patch with a sticker for the back to hold the info a ribbon would.”- Eric Hilferding, CEO

pinewood derby racer patches

Volunteer Recognition

If you have planned a Pinewood Derby before you know the massive effort that you and the other volunteers put into it! Take the time at the Pinewood Derby and Blue and Gold Banquet to recognize that effort. For the key people, get them a Pinewood Derby Plaque. For everyone that volunteered, a certificate. Adults don’t care about the certificate itself, but they care about being recognized. Anther idea is write a thank you card and mail it to them. Pinewood Derby Certificate Maker.
Don’t forget the judges, they have the hardest job – they probably got dirty looks or even yelled at by a dozen kids and some parents!

pinewood derby certificate award gold
Volunteers to Recognize
  • • Event Chairperson
  • • Event MC
  • • Judges
  • • VIP’s
  • • Event Sponsors

pinewood derby plaque mock up

Why a Great Derby Event Matters

“It’s been many years but I can still remember each of my three Pinewood Derby events as a Cub Scout. The day your Scouts place their cars on the track will a major part of their life experience. Planning and some simple decisions upfront can keep the event going smoothly. You want every Scout and parent to walk away from the day looking forward to next year. Avoid chaos and strife. Make your Packs Pinewood Derby a day to remember!”- Eric Hilferding, CEO
Check out our Pinewood Derbies made easy guide book with ideas.

pinewood derby car display
pinewood derby race display


Ideas to make the Derby Day fun

pinewood derby ideas to make the day fun

Make it about fun as much as the race!

  •  Music: Ask a parent to be the DJ! play popular music the kids and parent like.
  • • Games: Not all kids race, Provide games to keep the kids entertained, cornhole, hula hoops, etc.
  • • Parents: give the parents fun things to do, maybe a crazy car design contest or tricycle racing
  • • Food: Make sure there is a food option, either volunteers making hot dogs or ask a food truck to come by!
  • • Location: Public places are better to get exposure and to elevate the event. Parks, museum, civic hall.
  • • Decorations: Just like a birthday party, decorations go a long way to building that festive environment.
  • • VIP: Ask a local celebrity like the Mayor or Police Chief to give out some of the awards.

Pinewood Derby Guide Book

Pinewood Derby Event Items


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Your Pinewood Derby a Success

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