SEBRING - When Payne Duvall, 6, hugged his father for a long time Saturday after winning the biggest trophy at the Pinewood Derby, Lance Duvall didn't mind saying he was moved to tears. It was a big deal.
"Oh, it was," said Lance Duvall, a Sebring paramedic.
Beginning in February, the father and his Tiger Cub Scout spent about 25 hours carving and drilling and painting and shaping a five-ounce block of wood into a General Lee, an orange racer with a rebel flag that would slide down a 49-foot track in under 3 seconds.
"He likes the Duke boys," Lance Duvall said.
After it was all over, Payne, a first grader at Cracker Trail Elementary, was too modest to talk about beating the big boys - the Bears, the Wolves and even the 11-year-old Webelos - in the final race, but his grin couldn't keep his pride a secret.
As a Scout, Dad also won Pinewood Derby trophies. "But I don't think they were that big."
Payne is a reader, Lance said. "How many books did he read?"
As many as 36 just in the past few months, said his mother, Nancy.
Twenty-six Cub Scouts competed from every pack in Highlands and Hardee counties, which is the Calusa District.
Payne, said his father, "gets so broken-hearted." So his Lance prepared him on the way to Lakeshore Mall on Saturday morning: "You can't get upset if you don't win. We can try again next year."
Turns out, next year, the big boys will know who the champ is.
Third: Harley Seppala
Second: Isaiah Jackson
First: Payne Duvall
Third: Johnathan Townsend
Second: William Jackson
First: Ralph Stivala
Third: Cole Walters
Second: Brendon Nietubicz
First: Gabrial Demers
Third: Travis Screws
First: Wyatt Land
The original Pinewood Derby was conceived when the son of Cubmaster Don Murphy, Pack 280C, Manhattan Beach, Ca. was unable to compete in a local gravity-powered car competition. Murphy, his son and his pack made and raced miniature gravity-powered cars on a small indoor track.
The first derby was held May 15, 1953. By 1955, the Pinewood Derby was an optional part of the official Cub Scouting program, and has become a key to many Cub Scout packs' annual programs.