How to Choose Best Looking?

General race coordinator discussions.
DerbyAddicted
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How to Choose Best Looking?

Post by DerbyAddicted » Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:58 pm

Hi guys. What's the typical way that "Best Looking" is chosen? I ask because we typically let the boys vote on Best Looking, but it doesn't seem to be working well imo. It seems like it's more of a popularity contest than a true judge of the cars. What are the alternatives?



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Re: How to Choose Best Looking?

Post by BallBoy » Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:24 pm

I have seen two different was of doing this. The first is a scout's or people's choice award where the competitors and/or spectators vote on the one they like the best. That can become a popularity contest in moderate to small sized groups. Another option is to have a judge's choice award where an impartial judge or panel of judges selects the car that he/she/they like(s) best. You could even do both a people's choice and judge's choice.



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Re: How to Choose Best Looking?

Post by jmalsa » Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:43 pm

I have a design competition in our Derby. It really stimulates creativity. We have around 35 scouts and usually around 75-90 people attend. I have everyone and anyone vote. Scouts,siblings,adults,guests. We hold ours at the VFW and I even have the VFW members vote if they are around. I also have 5 categories for design for the scouts and one for the non scouts. I am thinking about breaking the non scout award into three categories.
Scout categories: Non Scout: (Adults and Siblings and Friends)
Best in Show Best non scout (Current)
Most Realistic Best Adult (Next Year)
Most Artistic Best sibling/friend (Next Year)
Scout Spirit Most Girly (Next Year)
Most Creative

I have not had much experience with it being a popularity contest at our derby.



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Re: How to Choose Best Looking?

Post by Scrollsawer » Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:57 pm

We have had an official judge from the local elementary school which worked out well, and helps to maintain the relationship between the school and the Pack. Could be a teacher, or the school lunch lady, or the vice principal. Lots of options.

Kids can sometimes unfortunately drive bad behavior if you leave it up to them. I have had this experience in my Den when the boys were voting on their Patrol badge selection. A group of boys aligned with one boy on a design to be popular, when they ther wise would have chosen differently.

Regards,

Scrollsawer


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Re: How to Choose Best Looking?

Post by FatSebastian » Tue Jan 28, 2014 4:25 pm

DerbyAddicted wrote:What are the alternatives?
Form a committee of civic leadership (local mayor, town council, etc.), and/or civil servants (policemen, firemen, teachers, etc.) to serve as invited judges. It is a good opportunity to raise awareness of Scouting in the community. A troop of older Boy Scouts is another possibility, as are members of your Charter Organization.



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Re: How to Choose Best Looking?

Post by Speedster » Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:16 pm

Hello, Derby talk Folks.
Do away with Best Design completely. This is a Race, not a beauty contest. Teach the young scouts the Physics of the Pinewood Derby and explain to them what makes a car go fast. Make it interesting with lots of visuals. They will all learn something and hopefully find it fascinating. The cars at the 1953 race looked like race cars. I allow no books in our workshops that show designs of big, bulky cars. The Eagle Bay District of the Erie Council, Toledo, Ohio, has done away with Best Design awards and I'm hoping to do away with them in our District. I've learned from Derby Talk that many Districts do not have a Best Design competition. My hats off to those Districts although others surely will disagree rather strongly. We had complaints at our last District meeting we are losing money on the Pinewood Derby District races so it shouldn't be too hard to do away with the Best Design category. If the incentive to building a "car" is gone, hopefully speed will become important. If a Pack wants to have a Best Design award for carving a block of wood I think that would be nice. Do it completely separate and at a different time from the Pinewood Derby race.
Yours in Going Downhill Fast,
Speedster



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Re: How to Choose Best Looking?

Post by Darin McGrew » Tue Jan 28, 2014 9:48 pm

We've always used impartial adult judges to choose our design awards. The only criterion is that they not know any of the kids who have entered cars that year.

Some years, the judges met and chose the awards by consensus. This gave them the flexibility to create new categories (e.g., Most Nautical for a boat-shaped derby car), but it required scheduling a time when all the judges could meet together.

Most years, the judges score the cars separately, and the results are determined by totaling the points from all the judges. Last year, the person organizing the judging managed to recruit dozens of judges from various Bible studies and fellowship groups that met at church.



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Re: How to Choose Best Looking?

Post by Vitamin K » Tue Jan 28, 2014 10:16 pm

I must respectfully disagree with Speedster here...I think awards for craftsmanship and/or design are a big part of the Derby. Some design for speed, and that's perfectly fine, but some people put long hours into developing works of art out of pine and paint, and that should be recognized, IMO.

I do like the idea of having both a "People's Choice" and a "Judge's Choice" award. My main criteria for judges would be that they have no connection with any of the car owners. I like FatSebastian's idea of reaching out to the community. Another possible source would be a reporter from the local paper...might even drum up some press that way!



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Re: How to Choose Best Looking?

Post by TXDerbyDad » Tue Jan 28, 2014 10:34 pm

We use an impartial panel, and we try to choose the most obvious Scout built car.



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Re: How to Choose Best Looking?

Post by DerbyAddicted » Wed Jan 29, 2014 6:08 am

Thanks for some great ideas guys. I def. have some ideas to bring to next years committee meeting regarding the derby. I'm not even too concerned that the person have no connection to the scout(s) who made the car(s). I say this because when they're looking over the cars, they don't know who made what car.



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Re: How to Choose Best Looking?

Post by Rukkian » Wed Jan 29, 2014 1:37 pm

I do not agree with removing design awards, as the point of the pinewood really has nothing to do with the race imho. To me, the pinewood derby is about time spent between adult/child working together and learning together. The race, to me, is just the celebration of the time spent.

Some kids (and their partners) do not care about speed and do not care to learn what it takes to make a fast car. If it nearly impossible if you have a competitive pack to have a car built by a scout that is both awesome looking, and competitive for speed. I added in design trophies (only 3 for the pack of 38), but they are just as big, and nicer looking than the pack speed awards.

For districts, I am not sure how I feel about design. I am running the district for the first time this year (at least in the past 20 or so years) and do not plan on doing a design trophy. In pack, we know everybody and can somewhat know if a parent did the whole car (usually), and we can let that weigh into our decision, while for districts, it would be impossible to know. I am not completely against it, just not at this point.

For judging, we usually have the boy scout troop doing concessions as a fund raiser, and they get together to pick the winners.



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Re: How to Choose Best Looking?

Post by Speedster » Wed Jan 29, 2014 3:08 pm

Rukkian, you're on my side. I didn't see that coming.
All I really want is to get rid of the Design category at the District level. Hopefully it would take away Dad's incentive to carve a Swiss Army Knife with blades and a cork screw that opens. Maybe he would talk with his son about speed. Whenever I hear someone say, "We don't care if we win or not" it always comes from an adult. I have, however, heard scouts say "I hope I win". I think every little boy who puts his car on that track is thinking of winning the race. Are his adult helpers helping him achieve his goal? Are they even asking him if he would like to try to win the race? My opening line at every workshop I participate in is, "Who wants to try to win this race?" Every hand goes up every time. It gives me a warm feeling to see that enthusiasm.



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Re: How to Choose Best Looking?

Post by Rukkian » Wed Jan 29, 2014 3:29 pm

Speedster wrote:Rukkian, you're on my side. I didn't see that coming.
All I really want is to get rid of the Design category at the District level. Hopefully it would take away Dad's incentive to carve a Swiss Army Knife with blades and a cork screw that opens. Maybe he would talk with his son about speed. Whenever I hear someone say, "We don't care if we win or not" it always comes from an adult. I have, however, heard scouts say "I hope I win". I think every little boy who puts his car on that track is thinking of winning the race. Are his adult helpers helping him achieve his goal? Are they even asking him if he would like to try to win the race? My opening line at every workshop I participate in is, "Who wants to try to win this race?" Every hand goes up every time. It gives me a warm feeling to see that enthusiasm.
I didn't even realize I was. I thought you were trying to say there was no place for design awards in pinewood ever. I think it would be very difficult at districts, especially with how many boys could potentially show up.

In our old districts, the last 2 years we were up there, the district actually worked with a local GM dealer, who was willing to completely clean out one of their service bays for 2 days (one for setup, one for the race) and let us use it for the race. While it was a little cramped, it was an awesome environment for the race. They somewhat had a design award there, but it was the owner of the dealership, would pick the car that looked most like a GM (or some sort) and would give a model car (of course some sort of GM - corvette, trans am, etc). I liked that, and it gave a little tie in with the environment. This was not a separate thing (you couldn't just enter the design, had to be there representing your pack for speed to be eligible).



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Re: How to Choose Best Looking?

Post by Darin McGrew » Wed Jan 29, 2014 6:32 pm

Speedster wrote:Do away with Best Design completely. This is a Race, not a beauty contest.
I've given this a bit of thought, and I'd agree with you if we were discussing league derbies. But this forum is not about league derbies.

The youth-oriented derbies that this forum focuses on should never be about just the race. As Rukkian pointed out, the point of these derbies is the time spent with the adult and child working together. Don Murphy said pretty much the same thing: "I wanted to devise a wholesome, constructive activity that would foster a closer father-son relationship and promote craftsmanship and good sportsmanship through competition." Sure, the race is part of it, but it's just a part, and it isn't the point of these derbies.

TXDerbyDad wrote:We use an impartial panel, and we try to choose the most obvious Scout built car.
I have two disagreements with the "obvious Scout built" part. First, the derby is supposed to be an adult–child project, not a project for kids to complete on their own.

Second, it penalizes excellent craftsmanship. I've seen judges looking for "kid built" cars get it wrong. I've seen gorgeous cars built by kids with no more adult help than any of the other cars in the derby. The kids were committed to doing an excellent job, and they invested the time and effort required. Should kids who seek the design awards be required to sabotage their own efforts so their cars look "kid built"?

Speedster wrote:Hopefully it would take away Dad's incentive to carve a Swiss Army Knife with blades and a cork screw that opens.
If that's your concern, then encourage Dad to enter his own car in the adult division. As a bonus, Dad can then teach his son via the "watch one, do one" technique.
Speedster wrote:I think every little boy who puts his car on that track is thinking of winning the race.
Thinking about it? Sure. I've thought about winning the race even when I've built creative designs that go against most of the speed advice that I've learned here and elsewhere. That doesn't mean I was willing to compromise my design for the sake of speed though. And yes, I've met kids who really didn't care who won the race, as long as they won a design award.

The purpose of the derby is to promote adult–child relationships, craftsmanship, and good sportsmanship. The race is just a tool to support that purpose. And likewise, the design competition is a tool to support that purpose. Some kids care only about the race, others care only about the design competition, and others care about both.

What we really need is a tool to reach the kids who don't care about either. But that's a discussion for another time.



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Re: How to Choose Best Looking?

Post by Russell Labs » Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:20 pm

I was the Pack, District, and Council PWD chairman for 4 years. We found a very effective quantitative way to judge our PWD "Show" contest by using a Show Judging Rubric that was put together from multiple resources.

We divided the rubric into 4 categories: 1)Creativity, originality, theme, imagination (10 points), 2) Workmanship, body style, shape, details, craftsmanship (10 points), 3) Appearance, paint job, finish, color, decorations (10 points), and 4) Scout or child influence and efforts (20 points). The cars are identified by a name or number for the rubric, which eliminates the ability to associate a car with an individual for any potential judging bias.

We generally brought in a member or team of people in the community (ie school teacher, minister, politician) with a Scouting background to be the judges using the rubric as their guide.

Because it was mathematically scored with written documentation backing the results, we could always justify the results if there was a dispute. This system is still being used effectively for the Council.



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