Cub Scouts compete at an epic pinewood derby race in Times Square

Forget about the neon signs and towering buildings in New York City’s Times Square. Last Saturday, the center of attention was a 45-foot pinewood derby racetrack.

More than 250 Scouts from as far away as California sent their handmade cars flying down the track during the Greater New York Council’s 2016 Cub Scout Pinewood Derby World Championships held at “the crossroads of the world.”

Cub Scouts representing 40 councils were required to qualify in their local district or council races before they could enter the free event in one of two divisions: Stock and Pro Stock.

“Both have the same basic requirements as it relates to weight and dimensions, but Pro Stock allows more manipulation of wheels and axels,” says Dave Swartz, Greater New York Council program director.

263 cars competed while dozens more raced on an exhibition track, grabbing the attention of Times Square visitors.

Besides bringing Scouts together in the name of good ol’ pinewood derby fun, the goal of this event is visibility, Swartz affirms —  not only for the council, but also for the Scouting movement.

On a given Saturday, Swartz estimates half a million tourists visit Times Square, with only about five percent being local New Yorkers.

“People would just stop and watch for awhile. Most [of the tourists] approached the staff to speak of their own Scouting involvement (past or current) in our country and even around the world,” Swartz says. “We want this event to remind people that Scouting is around and they should get involved back at home.”

Take a look at the photos from the event below and stay tuned for more details on the Greater New York Council’s 2017 Cub Scout Pinewood Derby World Championships.