POINT PLEASANT — Get set… go.
A normal event for young boys in cub scouts, students in the Life Skills class also participated in their annual Pinewood Derby on Wednesday at Point Pleasant Junior Senior High School (PPJSHS).
Teacher Rhonda Blankenship stated this is an all-day event. They start out in the morning with the National Anthem, and they spend the day filling in the two brackets that keep track of the winners. Each individual competition consists of two races and to advance the winner must win twice, and if necessary, there is a tie-breaker race. It was reported that last years’ winner was Larry Slayton, and the other teachers involved include Barbara Scarberry, Darlene Russell, and Shirley Billings.
The Pinewood Derby first originated on May 15, 1953, and was created by Cub master Don Murphy. Murphy came up with the idea when his son was too young to race in the soap box derby. Murphy took the same idea of soap box derby, and made smaller cars and a smaller track and the pinewood derby was born.
Blankenship stated that local Joe Smith helped with all the pinewood cars. The students design their own cars and then Smith cuts out the designs and put the wheels on. The students then get to paint and decorate their cars as they see fit. Both Blankenship and Shirley Billings stated this was a favorite event among the students. It gets the their imaginations going and they get to use their artistic skills over several weeks which lead up to the race itself.
There are also various categories the students can win in for their participation in the derby. Blankenship stated that everyone gets a trophy, and that the speed trophy is the big award. Winning the coveted speed trophies this year were, in first place, Justin Lambert; second place, Daniel McDaniel; and third place, Heather Gibbs.
Winning trophies for paint and design aspects were the following.
*Overall Paint/Design Trophy — Ashley Morrison (School Bus).
*Most Unusual — first place, Heather Gibbs; second place, Hope Cook; third place, Justin Lambert.
*Best Design — first place, Mackenzie Craig; second place, Bobby Plants.
*Best Paint — first place, Daniel McDaniel;
*Most Original — first place, Hope Jones; second place, Larry Slayton; third place, Levi Campbell.
*Coolest Car — first place, Barbara Fielder; second place, Matt Blakely; third place, Brook Zink.
Also participating in the derby were Point Pleasant Mayor Brian Billings and City Clerk Amber Tatterson. Both Billings and Tatterson alternated releasing the cars at the top of the track, and even took their turns at racing against each other. Tatterson reported they’ve been involved with the derby since 2009 and both she and Mayor Billings expressed their excitement for this event.
“It’s good to see them out and enjoying the competition,” said Tatterson. “I absolutely love it.”
“This is neat,” Mayor Billings said. “As the years go on, I get more excited. These kids are great.”