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Voting for Awards at Pinewood

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We have a few months to tackle this - but wanted to see how other units vote on appearance awards.  If you don't - no worries. But if you do - could you share how you do it?


We have 4 or 5 Appearance Awards - Most Scout- Like, Most Patriotic, Most Unique, Scout's Choice...  You get the idea.


Each car is assigned a number.  Each Boy gets a ballot and a pencil and goes down the line to vote.  


That part isn't hectic.  It's the tabulation.


Anyone do it different?

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We do a single best appearance car.


Each scout ballot has a first, second and third place vote - multiple votes solves the problem of a scout voting for their own car.

We score with three points for first, two points for second and one point for third.  Sibling and Adult (if we have them) cars are not eligible, and only the Scouts vote.


Then the cars with the three most total points are third through first respectively.


Tallying the votes takes one person about 10-15 minutes for our pack of about 35-40 cars.  Easily done while the race is going on if the voting is completed before the race starts.

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I'm told that Den chiefs can count. ;)


We've done things like that with pennies. The boys get 5 pennies, they can drop them into slotted tins or boxes in front of each car/cake/project. (Hint, you can teach the Webelos to fold origami boxes the week before the race ... you'll have more than you'll need or ever want to see again.)


If you're okay with open voting, you could use stickers. A different color for each category. (If you're really obsessive you can print the categories on labels. And each boy gets a strip of labels.) Each car gets a card/ribbon to put the stickers on, and and the car-builder gets to take home the card full of stickers as a momento.


The trick with all of these is to have the boys go down the line of cars once before getting their voting tokens.

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The past couple of years our Pack had a whole stack of awards, everything from "Best Super Hero Theme" to "Best Paint Job."  Most of these were voted on by the Pack Committee and Leaders.  We then had a 'Scout's Choice' which was voted on by the Scouts.  One year I think we used ballots with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choices, but last year I think we did it by having the Scout's whisper their choice to us.

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Our pack would always just poll the leaders in attendance..... with the derby chairman being the deciding vote in case of tie..... but seriously it was not a high pressure serious thing, and usually unanimous.


Personally, I'd be in favor of setting it up so that the scouts themselves decide.  Make up ballot lists and ask the scouts to write down the number of the car that gets "best in show", "most patriotic", or whatever your classifications are.

Then task a parent from the audience to tally them up while you run another heat.

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We did a best in Den Award decided by the scouts,, parents and siblings voting by using different types of beans for each Den and placing them in Dixie Cups that were placed in front of each car.  The Boy Scouts helping with the event decided among the top cars in each Den which car got 1st, 2nd and 3rd overall.  In those Dens, the 2nd place car got Best in Den.  

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  • 2 weeks later...
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We had 5 or 6 themes. 1-2-3 trophies for Tigers, Wolfs/Bears, and Webelos, (We used judges...usually boy scouts or adults with no boys competing) Some were every year '*' and the others changed:

Most Scout Spirit*

Most Patriotic*

Best Military Theme*

Best Nautical

Best Paint Job


Cartoon Theme

Animal Theme

Movie/TV Theme

Superhero Theme

Food Theme


We occasionally had a 'most spectacular crash award'...parts had to fly off to qualify.


Finally the biggest award was 'The Best Sportsmanship" award for the (secretly observed) boy who cheered the most for everyone, was gracious, and fun. 


We also did double elimination so everyone raced at least twice. Yes it was a lot of awards (and took forever we sometimes had 100+ cars) but then we sold a lot of popcorn.


We had some dads bring some tools, glues, and weights for a 'pit area' in case last minute adjustments/repairs were needed.


We eventually had to move to more design awards as so many dads (especially engineer types) started to ruin the speed races. We tried doing 'build nights' with a band saw and all that to try to make sure boys were doing enough themselves. And 'Outlaw' races as well.  (and to help the less handy and at the request of some single mom's)


In addition the boy scouts sold hot dogs and set up both the racing track and the 'play track'. The play track was our older warped wooden track. We found the younger boys and their siblings still wanted to race and play with their cars after racing. That way they kept the track clear.


Opps, I think I over shared again.

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I've been involved with our pack since 2009.  At first, the boys just voted for best design using a slip of paper as a ballot, and that was the only award other than speed.  Then for a few years, we had certificates for a bunch of different awards (best paint, most patriotic, etc.), and our den leaders voted on them. 


Last year, we put a plastic cup in front of each car with that car's number on it.  Boys were given tickets (I can't remember how many--3 or 5, I think), and they voted for their favorite car by dropped them into the corresponding cup.  They were told that they could put all of their tickets into one cup or they could divide them up any way they wanted.  We just picked up the cups and counted tickets.  It was easier because you didn't have to count every single vote--you could look in a cup and see that there were only 1 or 2 tickets and could put it aside.


By the way, if you're close to a Dollar Tree, they have rolls of tickets for just a dollar.  Of course, I discovered that after I had already bought a gigantic roll of tickets!  :)


I will say that if you don't have a lot of room, you may need to think about some other kind of container than a plastic cup.  Our table was pretty crowded...

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