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Churches race at the Pine Derby

By Sean Chase, The Daily Observer


In a technological age dominated by the distractions of X-Box, Facebook and iPhones, it's nice to see kids return to one of the simplest activities ever devised - the pinewood derby.

This was proven this past weekend when young and old alike gathered to compete in the finals of the 13th annual Pembroke and Area Pine Car Derby.

Inside the auditorium at the Pembroke Pentecostal Tabernacle, crowds watched anxiously as miniature hand-made wooden cars rolled along 80 feet of track to reach the finish line, the climax of a week of racing which included 171 participants from five area churches.

Much like the pinewood derbies that originated with the boy scouts in the 1950's, the racers here build their own cars from wood, provided in a kit containing a block of pine, four plastic wheels and two metal axles.

Sloping to the ground with bumps strategically place, the car has only gravity powering its engine. It takes six seconds for the cars to whiz down the track. An electronic

"You try to make the car as aerodynamic as possible, weighing it properly and lubricating the wheels," said organizer Glen Folber.

Each church organized its own races, providing awards for design and speed. The first place speed winner from each church then advanced to the final race. The Pembroke Pentecostal Tabernacle held its first race back in 1994 expanding it to a regional competition seven years later. While it continues to grow in popular, Folber added they are hoping to enlist more churches from the area.

"We would always like to see more churches get involved," he explained. "We try to promote inter-church fellowship with this event. It's a lot of fun between the parents and the kids. In this day and age of hi tech, you don't see that much anymore. It's a little bit on the old fashion side."

Taking first place was Kirsten Gervais, representing Wesley Community Church. She was presented with the derby's championship plaque recognizing the church with the car that demonstrated amazing speed and performance.

The runners up were Gabby Hargrave, coming in second for Pine Ridge Family Church, Bethany Marquardt, taking third place for Pembroke Pentecostal, Darren Summers, finishing fourth for Calvary Baptist Church, and Kyra Nystad, placing fifth for First Baptist Church.

Each of the finalists received a small plaque. The winning church has the honour of displaying the championship plaque for the coming year.

Sean Chase is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist

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