It has been ten years since Pinewood Derby changed names to Ranger Derby. Has the Ranger Derby changed? No, it’s still fun competition. It's an opportunity to build a car, tune it up, and see how fast it goes. It’s still imagination on display. Yes, it’s still all that and more.
I remember when my son and daughter were both building and racing cars. My daughter’s car seemed to beat my son’s car in our outpost’s over all race year after year. One year when my son was so disappointed about losing to his sister, I tried to explain to an eight-year-old that it’s not as much about winning as it’s about making the car with your dad and other godly men. So often we, the leaders, get lost in all the to dos and the wins or losses, but our perspective needs to be more on how God is using Ranger Derby to shape our lives to be more like Christ. This is a time to reach a boy for Christ, grow your outpost, find new leaders, and see a boy’s relationship with his father strengthened.
If God can use Ranger Derby to change lives, how do we encourage outposts to host a Ranger Derby event? First, we, the leaders, need to be excited about Ranger Derby if we want our boys to get excited and invite their dads and friends.
The outpost may need host a Ranger Derby work event. This could be a Saturday or an evening event at the outpost. The section might host a work event that you can attend with your boys. Maye the outpost could host a workshop on how to make a fast car or a workshop on how to choose a creative design for a car.
This is a great opportunity to get dads involved who may not otherwise come to church; however, they may come to build a car with their sons. Be sure to encourage the dads to assist as the boys actually build the cars. The dads could get so inspired that they build their own cars for the Ranger Derby event.
On race day, make sure the space is decorated. The atmosphere helps set the tone for a great event. Here are a few ideas that would help to increase the excitement at your Ranger Derby event. The excitement is only limited by your level of imagination and desire to make the even the best ever.
Remember that an important element in Ranger Derby is the time of devotion. Be sure to select a good speaker to capture the attention of the crowd. Remind the speaker that this is a short devotion to open the event. The speaker should develop the devotion around that year’s Ranger Derby theme.
Kick the race off right with an exciting MC who keeps the race day moving. When the race stalls for some reason, the MC might have some interviews or promotional videos to use keep from losing excitement in the event.
Plan some sound and lighting effects to go with the event. Boys love the sound of revving engines and crashing cars. At the end of the event, make the awards ceremony a big deal. The outpost might consider creating a winner’s circle where the winners can be photographed. If you have someone who can use flash photography, then it will feel more exciting. (Think about paparazzi trying to get photos of celebrities at a big event like the Academy Awards.)
Current Ranger Derby National Guidelines can be found at https://royalrangers.com/derby. Make sure you verify your local guidelines.