United Church of God

Massachusetts Congregation Hosts Annual Pinewood Derby

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Massachusetts Congregation Hosts Annual Pinewood Derby

This local event invited people from all around to enter the race, drawing racers from two countries and 11 different states. Local deacon, and a race coordinator Gerald Auguste said the COVID-19 restrictions are what took the event from local to global and for the race volunteers and coordinators to build upon the event, making it more exciting each year. 

“We went from a rented racetrack and manually recording the race times on paper to building our own racetrack with the electronically reported race times to a website for all to be involved, wherever they are,” he said. 

Though it’s the sixth time the crew has put this event on, Mr. Auguste said the process is unique and interesting each time. 

“Getting all these pieces to work and coordinating shipping and receiving cars, snapping pictures, capturing video interviews, when it’s finally race day, it can get very interesting,” he said. 

And while many people spend hours perfecting the shape and look of their cars for the competition, for many, it all came down to building a family experience. Mr. Auguste’s cars may not have won the race, but he considers the entire experience a win for his whole family. 

“It’s the time I get to spend with my kids being creative,” Mr. Auguste said. “I’m not great at building things out of wood. With each year, my kids challenge me to top last year’s car design, and I challenge them with being more involved in all aspects of creating their own cars. It’s a great family time.” 

Race hosts David Rains and Jaime Sutherland brought the whole experience to the living rooms of the race participants far and wide with excited and wholehearted banter through each of the 60-plus heats of the race. 

“I don’t know about you but that peanut butter cup is really drawing my eye, David,” Sutherland said moments before another heat took place. Rains and Sutherland kept everyone’s interest through the multi-hour race. 

The racing event wasn’t all about the race, though. People got to vote on the creativity of the cars as well. Three-year-old Amelia took home the trophy for most colorful with her car, “Rainbow Ranger.” She said she felt “good” about the race. 

“My Rainbow Ranger derby car was so shiny and beautiful. And then I winned!” she said. 

It was no surprise that returning racer Reuben W., of New York, and his six-year-old daughter Elizabeth took home top spots again this year with Reuben’s car “Secret Sauce” nabbing first and Elizabeth’s “Cherry Blueberry” pulling out second place. Elizabeth M., of northern Ohio, took home third place with “Pink Flash.” 

Former New England pastor and now associate pastor for Ft. Lauderdale and Vero Beach, Florida, Andy Diemer took home the title of “Faster Pastor” this year with his car “SeaFire,” beating out sitting New England pastor Andy Duran’s “The Junkyard” by a split second. Portsmouth, Ohio, pastor Kevin Call rounded out the pastor race in third. The congregation looks forward to what next year’s race may bring. So, get your engines started now, and start planning and designing with your kids!