Back-to-back cham­pion

Gilbertsville Cub Scout wins sec­ond con­sec­u­tive World Pinewood Derby Cham­pi­onship

The Community Connection - - FRONT PAGE - By Re­becca Blan­chard rblan­chard@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @boy­er­town­times on Twit­ter

For the sec­ond year in a row, Cub Scout JJ Habres of Gilbertsville has won the Pinewood Derby World Cham­pi­onships.

Eight-year-old JJ com­peted again this year in his lo­cal Den and Pack Pinewood Derby, as well as the District Pinewood Derby, win­ning those events and qual­i­fy­ing him for the an­nual World Pinewood Derby Cham­pi­onship held on Satur­day, June 24, in New York City’s Times Square. This is his sec­ond year in­volved in the com­pe­ti­tion.

Joe Brew­ster, JJ’s grand­fa­ther, said that due to heavy rains and high winds, the event was forced in­doors to the Mar­riott Mar­quis ho­tel, which the race or­ga­niz­ers had se­cured as a back-up venue in the event of in­clement weather. He said the ef­forts and plan­ning by the host, the Greater New York BSA coun­cil, was amaz­ing.

“Af­ter win­ning the event last year as a Tiger Cub, JJ was look­ing for­ward to re­turn­ing to Times Square and com­pet­ing this year as a Wolf Cub. With hun­dreds of Scouts com­ing from across the coun­try to at­tend the event, the com­pe­ti­tion is friendly, but fierce,” said Brew­ster.

He said de­spite the dark and dreary weather, the Scouts gath­ered in­side and filled the venue with ex­cite­ment.

“The fes­tive at­mos­phere at this years event is some­thing JJ will never for­get,” said Brew­ster. He ref­er­enced laughter, singing and danc­ing.

JJ’s first run was a high 2.96. They weren’t sure how that score would fall with more com­peti­tors to come.

Dur­ing JJ’s first run his car ran a high 2.96, which is pretty fast,

but with a lot of com­peti­tors to come we weren’t sure it would be fast enough.

“His next cou­ple of runs were in the 2.97’s, but came with trou­ble on the stop sec­tion of the track where his car was get­ting bounced around pretty hard, ul­ti­mately land­ing on its roof and side. We hoped for the best, but also know just how del­i­cate and frag­ile these lit­tle cars can be. We watched with ap­pre­hen­sion as his next few runs got pro­gres­sively slower and slower and knew the car was hurt. We only hoped it would stay to­gether long enough to fin­ish his heats.”

The car did stay to­gether and kept enough speed to gain an­other first place tro­phy. Ac­cord­ing to Brew­ster, JJ is also the only Scout in the event’s his­tory to ever win back-to-back World Cham­pion ti­tles.

“JJ is al­ready talk­ing about go­ing back next year as a Bear Cub if he qual­i­fies, he said he has a few new ideas he wants to try out. Stay tuned.”


JJ Habres, 8 years old, with his first place tro­phy from this year’s Pinewood Derby in New York City.

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