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HANFORD — Ground control to Major Scout.

In a scene that could have been set to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” Cub Scout Pack 400 held its inaugural Space Derby in May.

The Space Derby is similar to the Pinewood Derby that is synonymous with scouts, but more three-dimensional — literally.

“They’re pretty creative,” Pack 400 committee chair Tom Carter said about the Scouts and their creations.

Each of the Scouts were given a rocket ship kit, including balsa wood frame, propeller and plastic fins. It was up to them to sculpt the frame down to what they felt would be the best shape, place the fins and design and paint their rockets however they saw fit.

Rockets were designed to look like fighter jets, sharks and one looked like it belonged in “Star Wars.”

Winner of the race, Jackson Howze, said that it all came down to a sleek design for him and his rocket.

“I think mine was more aerodynamic. And I think the paint helped,” the 10-year-old Frontier Elementary School student said after the race, adding, “It was so fun.”

Howze has been a Scout for three years and said that while he likes everything about being a Scout, his favorite part of being in the troop is racing boats and cars.

The pack’s Pinewood Derby takes place in January and the annual boat race, the Raingutter Regata, is held in March.

The first Space Derby, which is planned to be held annually, saw competition between 17 members of the pack in an elimination tournament held at the First United Methodist Church in Hanford.  Whoever’s propeller-driven aircraft traveled along a string to the finish first  — or whoever made it furthest without malfunction — was declared the winner.

Cubmaster Doug Talk addressed his troop before the event began, “Sometimes your rocket may explode and you may not always reach the finish line. But that’s OK, because we’re here, why?”

“To have fun,” the pack answered back with an in-unison shout.

The competition played out not unlike a Warriors/Rockets playoff game. Some races ended with one clear winner and one malfunction, necessitating impromptu repairs and others were neck-and-neck, ending in high fives, shouts and chanting the winners’ names.

Assistant Cubmaster Matt Quinn is doing his “second tour” in Scouts, as he joined up about 10 years ago with his oldest son, but has stuck around now that his middle son is old enough to join the pack.

“I have a 3-year-old, too, so I’m going to be here for a while,” Quinn joked.

Carter also joined the organization when his son, Logan, expressed an interest in the Scouts after seeing flyers for the club around school and thought it looked fun after noticing that many of his peers were getting involved. Logan said he has enjoyed camping and making friends in the group.

“We went to Camp Wortman and played gold mining. It was so fun. That sticks out in my memory,” the 11-year old said.

The pack will hold its rank advancement ceremony and end-of-the-year party on Tuesday, June 5.

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