Even those who had lost a race to him cheered as Tiger Cub Scout Elijah Araya gleefully raised the Grand Champion trophy over his head.

Araya’s homemade racer topped all challengers during the Cub Scouts’ district-wide Pinewood Derby held at Duncan’s VFW on Saturday.

Competitors from five different packs, ranging in age from first- to fifth-graders, competed for prizes and for a berth to next week’s state contest in Oklahoma City.

A traditional favorite, the Pinewood Derby is a Cub Scout activity in which the elementary school-aged Scouts build their own gravity-powered race cars from a block of plywood with help from their parents and Scout leaders. The wood is first cut down into a basic shape, then sanded, painted and decorated. The wheels are attached, and then some additional weight (often a coin glued to the bottom of the car) up to a specific weight limit is added.

Araya said his favorite part of the project was the race itself, when the Scouts carefully place their cars at the top of a 4-foot tall track and then walk down to the other end of the 32-foot-long slope to wait at the finish line.

His least favorite part of the project, although it may have been the key to his success, was putting graphite powder on the plastic wheels.

“I didn’t really like spending all that time putting the graphite on,” he said. “But you do it ’cause the wheels are more slick.”

And he also really liked decorating his car with stickers.

That was the high point for a lot of the younger Scouts.

“I liked putting the (decorative) stickers on,” said Pack 417 Tiger Cub Brent Bauer. Although Araya is in Pack 454, the two worked together on their cars.

Justin Steakley, a first-year Webelos from Pack 4377, said for him the most difficult part is deciding “what it’s going to look like.”

Cody McCracken, another first-year Webelos from the same pack, agreed.

“Starting with a block of wood and drawing what it’s going to look like was tough,” noted the veteran Cub Scout, who after five years of Pinewood Derbys also added things like “spoilers and side pipes” to his racer.

Participating in his final Pinewood Derby, Pack 434 second-year Webelos Sam Moffatt will cross over into Boy Scouts this spring.

He watched his younger brother’s car do better than his with a smile on his face.

“I didn’t like the carving, sanding and designing, as much as I like just being with everyone else,” he said. “Getting to meet the other Scouts is the best part.”

Meanwhile, many of the Tiger Cubs, first-graders in their first year of Cub Scouts, had trouble containing their excitement despite reminders from parent and leaders to “walk” around the room.

Araya tried to remember but could not contain his enthusiasm, and could only “gear down” to a skip and hop as he traveled around the room.

The top three winners by age group included (with pack numbers):

Tiger Cubs: Elijah Araya, 454, first; Brent Bauer, 417, second; Dakota Dinsmore, third.

Wolf Cubs: Dakota Ritter, 415, first; Jason Parker, 415, second; Wesley Mayo, 415, third.

Bear Cubs: Jake Moffatt, 434, first; Rebel Williams, 377, second.

Webelos: Donald Knapp, 377, first; Mike Jones, 415, second, Cody McCracker, 377, third.

Powder Puff winner: Niki Knapp.

Most Unique car: Dakota Ritter.

Most Beautiful car: Sitani Lemeki.

Scouting Spirit award: Wesley Mayo.

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