Everyone’s a winner at Pinewood Derby

It doesn’t matter who received the medals at the Saracen District Cub Scouts Derby Race on Saturday at The Pines shopping mall, because there was no “agony of defeat.”

“We teach the boys that it’s not about winning or losing, but rather sportsmanship and participation,” said Robert Lewis of White Hall, Cubmaster of Cub Scout Pack 248 and assistant Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 391.

There was good-natured competition, however, as Tiger, Bear, Wolf and Webelos Den members raced homemade cars they crafted with the help of family members or friends. The races were staged on a variety of courses. The Saracen District includes East End, Pine Bluff, Sheridan and White Hall.

Lewis — a Scout leader since 2001 — can testify to the enjoyment of Scout activities. His 20-year-old son, Eagle Scout Andrew Lewis, is his father’s assistant Cubmaster. The elder Lewis began his involvement when the younger Lewis joined the Cub Scouts.

“I get a lot from this,” Robert Lewis said. “I like watching the boys have fun. I devote about 20 to 30 hours a month to Scout activities. Cubmasters and Scoutmasters have to be devoted because you have to take time to plan if you want the events to go well.”

Participating Scouts may be young, but they have a good grip on what’s happening.

Seven-year-old Zachary Roberts of White Hall, who was aided by family friend Camille Roberts in preparing for the race since early January, said the experience was “hard work” but “a lot of fun.”

“Getting to race everybody was the most fun,” he said. “And I learned how to use tools putting my shark car together.”

He was a first runner-up in one race and enjoyed being cheered on by several relatives, including his cousin Megan Powell of Pine Bluff. Powell said Zachary’s fans got a kick out of seeing him “having such a good time” and witnessing his reactions to their verbal support.

“Zachary kept his eyes on his car, but you could see that he knew we were here rooting for him,” said Jacob Smart of Pine Bluff. “We’re glad we’re here. It’s a great Saturday.”

Ricky Johnson, 7, of East End was especially proud of his “green tiger car,” which he constructed over “a couple of days” with his father, Heath Johnson.

“It was a good time that was even better because my dad helped me,” the youngster said with a grin.

A pair of 8-year-olds — Blake Knight of Pine Bluff and Jacob Smith of Redfield — were taking in the sights and sounds but paused long enough to offer a couple of comments.

“I worked five days on my badger car,” Jacob said. “I used graphite on my axles to make my car go faster, and my dad (Vince Smith) helped me.”

Blake was aided by his father, Kevin Knight, on a car

“This has been a lot of fun,” said Blake.

Tammy Oleson of East End was pleased that her son, 7-year-old Trent Repp, was able to take part in the event.

“Trent really enjoys this, but I feel like I may be getting more out of it than he is,” she said. “This gives him a sense of group, and he’s learning things while we’re doing this. I like the fact that it’s a time for him and his dad (Terry Repp), and I love watching them have fun together.

“Trent is feeling more confident while learning about sportsmanship and having fun competing. Plus, he’s making friends. And his dad and I are meeting other parents and making new friends, too.”