Make sure you have these essentials for your next Pinewood Derby

Looking for a list of tasks that will get you and your pack up to speed on hosting a Pinewood Derby? Well, look no further: we have compiled a list of to-do’s. All you have to do is check everything off the list, and you will be ready and set to race into the perfect day.

Task List

Download a printable version of this task list here.

  • Decide on a date. [6-9 weeks out]
    • This is a great time to also set a pre-weigh-in date and time — don’t underestimate how long this can take! Some Scouts may need to make adjustments to their car that could involve tools and time, so this is best done hours to a day or two before race. After cars are weighed in, the cars can be locked away until race day time.
  • Secure the event space. [6-9 weeks out]
  • Come up with a hashtag for the event – this can be one that is used every year so that you can follow annual progress on social media, or a different one for each year. Be sure that you check the hashtag online and make sure you aren’t picking one that is already in use. You want this one to be unique to you, so that when you search the hashtag, it only comes up with the photos you and your pack are sharing. [4-9 weeks out] 
  • If the pack funds the purchase of the cars, have someone pick up enough car kits for all Scouts, siblings and racing adults. The pack should hand out the cars four to six weeks before the race event to allow for adequate build time. If the pack does not purchase cars, provide details on rules along with your local Scout Shop’s address and details. [4-9 weeks out]
  • Decide on rules and distribute them – if you have a pack website, then post them there and email them to parents. [4-9 weeks out]
  • Make event invites — paper fliers are a great reminder, and emailed invites are convenient for tracking RSVPs and sending out calendar reminders. [4 weeks out]
  • Reach out to your local Scout Shop to find out when they will be conducting Pinewood Derby Champ Camp workshops for car building tips. Publicize dates to pack membership or set a date for everyone to go together. [Champ Camps are typically in January and February]
  • Reach out to a local Scouts BSA troop for volunteers and support. If they get involved, it would also be fun to let them have their own race, too. Cub Scouts can see what kind of cool designs the older Scouts come up with. [4 weeks out]
  • Choose how you are going to manage food and snacks. [2-3 weeks out]
  • Secure a track and finish gate. [2-4 weeks out]
  • Choose how your pack will score and run the races. You can use the timed method, a bracket-and-elimination system, separate by age, etc. [2-4 weeks out]
  • Decide on how many award categories your pack will have and what they will be, and gather the awards for the winners. [2-4 weeks out]
  • Compile a list of fun extracurricular activities that Scouts can do to keep their attention. [2 weeks out]
    • Velcro darts
    • Race-themed cornhole
    • Non-official, for-fun races
    • Prizes or giveaways (guess how many toy cars are in this jar, etc.)
  • Assign a day-of task force team – be sure to have a great mix of parents, Scouts BSA volunteers and others who like to get involved. [2 weeks out]
    • Set-up team
    • Check-in
    • Manning the food table
    • Official scorekeeper
    • Demo team (a couple of people who can demonstrate how each race will be run)
    • Spare parts helper
    • Judges (for those contest categories) – be sure to get the categories to these judges in advance so they are in the loop.
    • Master of ceremony
    • Official picture-taker
    • DJ
    • Breakdown
  • Pick a theme and make or buy decorations. [1-3 weeks out]
  • Make a spare parts table – nobody wants to be without a wheel or an axle if something happens on race day. (Psst…Scoutshop.org has race-ready supplies; it’s an easy one-stop shop) [1 week out]
    • Wheels
    • Axles
    • Fast-drying super glue
    • Graphite
    • Scales
    • Weights
    • Screw driver
    • Hammer
  • Pull together tables, chairs, speakers and boundary markers. [1 week out]
  • Make the final run of show list with set-up time, official start time, race times, award ceremony times and breakdown times. [3 days – 1 week out]

Check out more ideas here.

Remember, this is all about having fun at a family event! Happy racing!

About Kate Matthews 6 Articles
Kate Matthews is the main word wizard behind Scout Shop's "Living the Scout Life" blog. She loves the planet, discovering new places and sharing how we can all be Living the Scout Life.