OKANOGAN - Frank Rogers’ collection of hand-crafted Pinewood Derby cars is on the auction block.
The former Okanogan County sheriff has donated the cars - and assorted parts used to make the racers - to the Grand Columbia Boy Scout Council as a fundraiser.
Rogers crafted the seven cars as part of his sponsorship of the local Cub Scouts’ Pinewood Derby, starting in 2006. Several won sponsor races.
Pinewood Derby cars start as a kit containing a wooden car blank, wheels and axles. It’s up to the Scout - or sponsor - to fine-tune the design in an attempt to make it run faster than the competition or win the event’s best-looking car contest.
Some car makers sand and buff both bodies and wheels, others use graphite to lube up wheels and axles. Others add strategically placed weights. Some paint and decorate their cars.
Rogers fashioned his first car in the shape of a Batman logo since he is a fan of the caped crusader. The others bear logos and some sport the working lights of a police car.
“I’m just trying to get money for the Scouts,” said Rogers of the donation. “Four have LED lights. It’s just fun building them.”
Deputy Dave Yarnell, also the Okanogan Valley Boy Scout district chairman, said he’s thrilled Rogers donated the collection “that is near and dear to him.”
Rogers said he became involved with the Pinewood Derby several years ago when the Scouts were raising money for a new track. He and car dealer Mike Kaiser made up the difference between the track’s cost and what the Scouts raised.
Yarnell said Rogers’ ongoing involvement helps get kids enthused about designing their own cars and participating in the races. Cub Scout dads, former Cubs, business owners, the Okanogan Fire Department and others have been bitten by the racing bug over the years.
“Now that he’s retiring, he decided there was not room for all the stuff at home,” Yarnell said.
Rogers had kept the cars and trophies on display in his office, although the parts were kept in his basement.
“I suggested a benefit auction and he loved the idea,” said Yarnell. “We figured it was worth a try.”
The online auction runs until this year’s district championship Pinewood Derby, set for March 16 in Omak. The whole collection goes to the top bidder.
Yarnell said he hopes someone will step up to fill the void left by Rogers’ racing departure.
“Be a role model,” he said.
People interested in bidding on the collection may contact the Scouts at firstname.lastname@example.org. Yarnell said he and District Executive David Pope will monitor bids and post the high bid of the week on the Okanogan Valley District and Grand Columbia Council Facebook pages.