DIST QUALIFIER OPINIONS REQUESTED (unless this duplicates)

Discussions on race planning, preparations and how to run a "fair" and fun race.
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pack529holycross
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DIST QUALIFIER OPINIONS REQUESTED (unless this duplicates)

Post by pack529holycross » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:45 pm

I have an older version of this from way back, but age and time also provides wisdom from both:


I currently run the District races as open invitation races, without regards for Pack Derby performance. Here are my primary reasons:

1. your pack may not have had a race, so the same rules apply to everyone -- scouts in packs WITH races aren't disqualified from entering simply because their pack conducts a derby.

2. if you didnt "place" at your derby, that is an opportunity to improve, and I feel the District Races are that opportunity to take what you learned at the Pack level and improve upon it - certainly those kids who won second place at pack level are trying to improve their cars.

3. trying to verify "qualifiers" at Pack Level vs. packs with no derby at all simply seems like an unnecessarily complex and cumbersome standard to enforce.

Ive always had at least 50 - 60 scouts, with an additional 15-20 kids and parents... and I know for certain there are several "we only race times, we dont do points" groups who stay away from the Event... but I wanted some District Planners' insight and roundtable discussion please.

Nicholas



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Re: DIST QUALIFIER OPINIONS REQUESTED (unless this duplicate

Post by birddog » Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:32 pm

I'm not a district planner, but I do run the Pack races, so my perspective comes from two different standpoints:

1. As a potential participant in the District races, I wish they were open to everyone, regardless of how well they did at the Pack level. My son and I enjoy seeing the car we built together race and having another opportunity to do that is enjoyable.

2. From a planner's perspective, it would be hard as you would have very little idea how many participants would show up. You certainly don't want familys having to sit around for 2 hours before they even get to see their car race. It needs to be a manageable size.

In our particular district, to the best of my knowedge, you need to be a "top 3" finisher in your pack race to qualify. If you didn't have a pack race, there is no opportunity to race at all. Not sure how they really enforce this and I've never seen the "qualification statement" in writing anywhere, just from word of mouth.

birddog



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Re: DIST QUALIFIER OPINIONS REQUESTED (unless this duplicate

Post by rkibby » Wed Jan 09, 2013 3:45 pm

I second Birddog,

We also have open Districts as well as Council. We have such a great turn out with allowing anyone to race. The boys love to race there cars multiple times.



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Re: DIST QUALIFIER OPINIONS REQUESTED (unless this duplicate

Post by Speedster » Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:14 am

I think it's wonderful you can open it up to everyone.
Our district allows the 1st and 2nd place cars in each den to compete at the district races. That gives a total of 150 cars that race. The registration form and $7.00 must be turned in by February 22, 2013 and the race will be held on March 16, 2013. The District knows the total that might show for the race. That would solve any problem you might have on how many might show for the race. It will be interesting to see how many folks are interested in racing if they did not finish in the top spots.
You mentioned Packs that do not have a Derby. As long as I've been around I never knew there was such a thing. What would be the reason? No track? Can't borrow one? No interest by the leaders? I'm involved with 2 small packs that run their races together and all race each other. The computer and the gentleman that runs it somehow knows how to keep everything separate. NOPE !! I don't run the computer.



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Re: DIST QUALIFIER OPINIONS REQUESTED (unless this duplicate

Post by rpcarpe » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:07 pm

As a Council & District worker and as a Pack size organizer, I too like the Open to All format.
Our current District only allows a % of registered Cubs to advance to District, same rule goes for Council.
District races usually have 120 or so Scouts. I know some people Packs don't bother going to District because they feel it's too long and boring.


My wife started a new support group... Widows of the Pinewood Derby.

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Re: DIST QUALIFIER OPINIONS REQUESTED (unless this duplicate

Post by Stan Pope » Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:12 pm

Well, I'm sitting alone on this one, I think!

District race participation peaks when participation is selective but not too selective. (This assertion is based on a survey that I did over 10 years ago, but I've no reason to believe that it is different now.) Our relatively small district, about 33 packs, typically has about 300 Cub Scouts racing in district. Some more participate in the design events, which are open to all Cub Scouts. Those 300 Cub Scouts represent their packs, which choose their reps (preferably by holding pack races.)

Selective, but not too selective:
If only pack winners could participate, we could have no more than 33 racing ... too selective.
If only grade winners could participate, we could have no more than 165 racing ... still too selective.
Our actual criteria is top 4 from each grade, so we could have 660 racing. Not too selective as we don't fill out all the slots. (We might do it this year, though!)

My survey showed that participation as a percent of registered Cub Scouts peaked when 3 or 4 racers qualified from each grade level from each pack. So I think that whoever designed our plan all those years before I got involved "got it right!"

So, I delved into, "Why?" Here is what I concluded:
1. Racing at district is more than just racing for the fun of it ... boys are representing their packs.
2. "Getting to race at district" is a prize that many of the boys cherish.
3. The value of that prize makes the pack races more exciting.
4. The qualifying nature encourages packs to actually hold races rather than saying (as I've heard some say), "If you want to race PWD cars, go to the district races!" What they thought, but didn't say was, "Holding a pack Derby is too much work!"

Now, how to deal with a potentially large number of scouts and how to provide them with a meaningful racing experience?

When my son first raced, our district races were charted double elimination, racing 2 at a time. The first 2 rounds involved typically 40 to 60 heats... about an hour of waiting time between heats. (Not enough racing for each boy, and too long sitting.)

We tried quintuple elim racing 3 at a time for several years. More racing for each Cub, but still the wait time between heats was too long. And the total time for each grade was longer.

Last year we tried the 15th Burlington method to select about 15 qualifiers for a final round. (Thanks to those fine Canadians who concieved the method!) Fixed time limit, much more frequent heats for each racer, and more heats for each racer. Another, lesser plus ... one grade racing at a time... parents no longer had to choose which of their several Cub Scouts to watch!

We are lucky in that we were able to field 8 quality tracks with staff from the 30+ packs that participated. Nearby districts with more packs seem to have more difficulty getting half that many tracks to one location. Response from parents and Scouts was super ... chairman gonna do it again! :)


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Re: DIST QUALIFIER OPINIONS REQUESTED (unless this duplicate

Post by Stan Pope » Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:21 pm

A brief addendum to my last post ...

I almost hesitate to say this, but we do not tell packs how to select their representatives. There is an unstated assumption that they will each hold a Pack Pinewood Derby.

Without violating any district rules, a pack could "draw straws" amongst those who wished to participate in the District Derby, and we would be none the wiser! But their Cubs would be the losers, and I don't think that any of them do it that way.


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Re: DIST QUALIFIER OPINIONS REQUESTED (unless this duplicate

Post by Darin McGrew » Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:04 pm

Stan, could a very small pack (i.e., no more than 3 or 4 boys per each grade level) send all their boys to your district derby, without holding their own derby?

I've only been involved with one regional derby, and that was years ago, but I recall a couple churches having very small Stockade units, and building cars for the regional derby without holding their own.



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Re: DIST QUALIFIER OPINIONS REQUESTED (unless this duplicate

Post by Stan Pope » Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:36 am

Darin McGrew wrote:Stan, could a very small pack (i.e., no more than 3 or 4 boys per each grade level) send all their boys to your district derby, without holding their own derby?

I've only been involved with one regional derby, and that was years ago, but I recall a couple churches having very small Stockade units, and building cars for the regional derby without holding their own.
Yes, they could do so. That was the point of my addendum above. But I think that most would want a pack derby prior to get their machines tuned up and tested before the more competitive district derby.

A new pack without tradition and low on resources might not think to ask for help from a more established pack. I think that any pack in that position who asked for help would find a willing unit nearby, at least for a year or two. Cub Leader Roundtable is a good place to find such help!

Last I looked at the unit stats here, the average pack size was around 30 Cubs. But judging from the performance of a few of the entries, I suspect that they sent all four of their participants in that grade!

I've turned over the question of percentage representation, particularly for larger units. One aspect keeps me from recommending a change that would have as many Scouts from one unit as trophies to present. That is the possibility of a unit sweeping all 5 place trophies in a grade as a result of one over zealous parent getting too involved in his den's builds. Eliminating the possibility of a "sweep" seems to cool their ardor. :)


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Re: DIST QUALIFIER OPINIONS REQUESTED (unless this duplicate

Post by Stan Pope » Sun Jan 13, 2013 4:17 am

A related observation:

Since it appears that district race participation is maximized if numbers from each pack are limited to 3 or 4 from each grade (i.e. selective, but not too selective), it is reasonable to ask whether maximizing district race participation is a worthy measure. I think that the answer is, "Yes!"

My reasoning is that district events should be designed to serve as many Scouts as possible. They should also support the unit programs. Direct service is maxed if district race participation is "selective, but not too selective".

District races with this "selective but not too selective" criteria also serve the Scouts indirectly by motivating packs to conduct their own derby races and by motivating Scouts to do well in those races. While being the fastest in the den may well be too difficult, even for the most motivated, being among the fastest four in the den is perceived as much more attainable.


Stan
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Re: DIST QUALIFIER OPINIONS REQUESTED (unless this duplicate

Post by rpcarpe » Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:59 pm

Stan, as usual, makes some good points.
The prestige of qualifying for District or Council can be a great motivation.


My wife started a new support group... Widows of the Pinewood Derby.

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Re: DIST QUALIFIER OPINIONS REQUESTED (unless this duplicate

Post by rkibby » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:43 am

Our District and Council do allow all to participate, but there is different racing groups. Scouts, Qualified Scouts, Kids, Parents. and our Council has a Pro division too.

I think it's great that it allows all scouts but keeping the Qualified scouts separated in there own race keeps the integrity of scouts representing there Pack and District. And also gives the other scouts and parents goals for next year to get into that Qualified Scout race.



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Re: DIST QUALIFIER OPINIONS REQUESTED (unless this duplicate

Post by Ickabod » Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:27 am

rkibby wrote:Our District and Council do allow all to participate, but there is different racing groups. Scouts, Qualified Scouts, Kids, Parents. and our Council has a Pro division too.
I am really glad the Mid-America Council added the qualified scout division this year! I think it made a difference in our Pack race as the competition really increased this year.


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Re: DIST QUALIFIER OPINIONS REQUESTED (unless this duplicate

Post by Stan Pope » Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:50 pm

Ickabod wrote:
rkibby wrote:Our District and Council do allow all to participate, but there is different racing groups. Scouts, Qualified Scouts, Kids, Parents. and our Council has a Pro division too.
I am really glad the Mid-America Council added the qualified scout division this year! I think it made a difference in our Pack race as the competition really increased this year.
That is consistent with my survey and subsequent analysis from mid 90's. "Selective but not too selective" qualification criteria (3 or 4 per grade per pack) maxes out district race participation.

My prediction for rkibby's district/council races is that the "Qualified Scouts" category entrants will vastly outnumber the "Scouts" category entrants.


Stan
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