17 photos that show how the Scouting 500 in Kansas City kicked fun into high gear

Last month’s Scouting 500 at Kansas Speedway welcomed 13,000 youth and adults to one of the largest Scouting events of the year.

Everyone in the Heart of America Council family was invited: Cub Scouts (and their families), Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, Venturers, Sea Scouts and Explorers. This was the second Scouting 500 ever; I blogged about the first back in 2014.

From Sept. 22 to 24, packs, troops, teams, crews, ships and posts camped alongside other units from their district. Campsites were conveniently located just outside the 1.5-mile tri-oval race track.

All the fun was found inside the tri-oval. The place was packed, with more than 150 different activities spread among 15 program venues known as “Pit Stops.”

The Pit Stops, like the Scouting movement as a whole, offered a diverse set of experiences young people couldn’t find anywhere else.

But seeing’s believing, right? So here are 17 photos that show how the Scouting 500 kicked fun into high gear.

1. Scouts fulfilled their need for speed.

At the “World of Wheels” Pit Stop, participants age 14 and up (with a signed waiver) raced go-karts.

2. Scouts played firefighter for a day.

The “Emergency Response” Pit Stop included hands-on displays from local police, fire and EMS agencies.

3. Scouts had plenty of time to be goofy.

Even though the activities lasted from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, there was still time for silliness.

4. Scouts breathed underwater.

You can’t just show up at the ocean and go scuba diving. But Scouts 11 and older did show up at the “Outdoor Adventure” Pit Stop to do just that.

5. Scouts camped with their families.

Most of these young people had never camped next to a giant race track.

6. Scouts raced on the BMX track.

There was racing of the two-wheeled variety, too. The “World of Wheels” Pit Stop was among the most popular.

7. Scouts zipped down the zip line.

Anyone weighing at least 75 pounds could experience the 700-foot zip line off the Speedway grandstand.

8. Scouts experienced life as an astronaut.

The “STEM Exploration” Pit Stop put a new spin on fun.

9. Scouts met Miss Kansas.

Krystian Fish, Miss Kansas 2017, met with Scouts and Scout leaders.

10. Scouts saluted members of our military.

Each branch of the armed forces was represented. They presented the colors and met with Scouts at the “Military Experience” Pit Stop.

11. Scouts reached new heights.

The climbing wall was part of the “Outdoor Adventure” Pit Stop.

12. Scouts hit the target.

The “Shooting Sports” Pit Stop included archery for Cub Scouts and powderball and tomahawk throwing for Boy Scouts.

13. Scouts got a surprise in the skies.

A flyover with classic planes gave participants quite a thrill.

14. Scouts saw a real race.

You can’t go to a raceway and not see a race. The event was capped off by a Saturday night main event featuring a private, 16-lap mock NASCAR race by the Richard Petty Driving Experience.

15. Scouts demonstrated athleticism.

At the Warrior Dash, part of the “Outdoor Adventure” Pit Stop, Scouts channeled their inner Olympian.

16. Scouts hung out with Venturers.

Scouts weren’t the only ones involved in the fun. Venturing crews had a nice showing as well.

17. Scouts met the lieutenant governor of Kansas.

Kansas Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer was there to meet with Scouts and leaders.

Thanks to Matt Armstrong, the council’s senior marketing director, for the photos and info.


  1. Great event with over 150 activities for the Scouts of all ages. I coordinated the International Tent with its activities for the second time. In 2014, we brought in Jill Clay who is Baden-Powell’s granddaughter. This year, we brought in Katie Hancock who is a Messengers of Peace (MOP) Hero recipient to talk to the youth about how to conduct a MOP project. I think you have blogged about her in the past. The council is thinking of doing it again in 3 or 4 years.

    • It was open to the public to purchase a day pass. Scouts had the option to spend 1 or 2 nights camping outside the speedway or just coming on Saturday for the day. 1st option had food included (3 meals) on Saturday. 2nd option had no food so people could bring their own or purchase from the vendors present.

  2. Wow! What a fantastic event! Hats off to Crossroads of America for their efforts in putting on such quality programming for their Scouts.

    • HOAC invited other nearby councils to participate. I saw the Scouting 500 listed on both the Pony Express and Jayhawk Councils’ calendars on their websites. Late on Saturday, I talked with a Scouter from Fort Riley KS (Coronado Council) who brought her den the almost 2 hours for the event.

  3. What an outstanding event! Thanks so much for sharing a great story. It represents everything Scouting is about. Scouting – For Fun! Prepared for Life.

  4. Several of the racecars in #14 had older Scouts in them who were chosen to do a ride-along. Experience of a lifetime!

    • My son was one of the Scouts that got to ask the astronaut some questions. Truly a once in a lifetime experience! Thank you Scouting 500!

  5. My husband Scoutmaster of Troop 149, along with two of our four new Eagle scouts had a great time at the 500, while our fifth was an O/A staff volunteer. I am still hearing about how great it was.

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