By Bob Balgemann

ROCKFORD – There was more than a rematch of the Green Bay-Seattle professional football game happening at 2 p.m. Jan. 18.
Many were glued to their television sets to watch the Packers and Seahawks vie for the NFC championship and berth in the Super Bowl on Feb. 1.
But quite a few were at Grace United Methodist Church on McFarland Road to watch, and participate in, a Pinewood Derby competition involving the various dens in Cub Scout Troop 206.
Troop 206 meets regularly at Grace, now more than 120 years old but with a relatively new sanctuary built in 1995. Many of its members reside in Machesney Park and Loves Park.
The Rev. Pam Rossmiller, pastor, and volunteer Chuck Drewes also were at the church that Sunday afternoon, welcoming scouts, family members and friends to the derby. They didn’t have to be there.
But they chose to do that as part of the church’s community outreach, which extends to neighboring residents and social service agencies such as Maya’s House, Carpenter’s Place and Rock House Kids.
“The outreach and support of the community comes as we welcome the Cub Scout group to meet in our building once a week,” Rossmiller said.
“The United Methodist Church has a long and rich history of supporting scouts. The partnership has been wonderful. We have supported their fund-raisers, offered hospitality at their events and they have joined in our clean-up days and worshipped with us.”
Drewes stood at one of the entrance doors and greeted those who were in attendance. “We want people to feel welcome when they come in,” he said.
A busy place
The church’s fellowship hall was a busy place that afternoon with 10 scouts entering cars of various designs.
They started by having their entries pass inspection that included being no more than 5 ounces in weight, no more than 7 inches long and having all fire tires touch the track surface.
In addition, Den Chief Keith Yenney, who inspected the tires, said they had to be made in the USA and approved by Boy Scouts of America.
“If one of the tires isn’t touching the surface, it could be an unfair advantage for the car,” said Scott Burkardt, assistant Cubmaster.
He weighed the cars and found one of them was too heavy – by 100th of an ounce – evidence of how precise the checks were that day.
Equipment at the three-lane track’s finish line was sophisticated, as it announced the place winners, the lanes they were in and their exact times.
Competitors were entered according to grade level, with two groups of Webelos, along with the Tiger and Wolf dens. Those finishing first and second advance to the council tournament, usually held in April in Pecatonica. The council’s geographic area is huge, extending to LaCrosse, Wis., on the north, Huntley to the southeast and Dixon to the southwest.
In addition, Best of Show awards went to Caydon Smith from the Wolf den; Gabe Smith from the Tiger den; Brydon Smith in Webelos 1 and Nate Smith in Webelos 2. Brydon and Caydon are brothers, as are Gabe and Nate.

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