The races are finished, the trophies given out and the secret to success is butterflies, according to 5-year-old grand champion Piper Gill.

The third Lampasas Association Royal Racers Pinewood Derby race took place at 10 a.m. Saturday at Clear Creek Baptist Church, 3350 Farm-to-Market 2657 in Kempner.

And in a series of elimination rounds, champion Piper beat out her older sister, 9-year-old Willow, 11-year-old Corbin and around 70 other competitive racers.

Entering in so the “kids could have some fun,” Rachel Gill, Piper’s mother and a military spouse, helped her three children pick designs off a website.

It was the first time the family had competed in a derby competition, Gill said.

According to her and Willow, the secret to success is the little wooden car’s flatness, something that Willow hopes to incorporate in her car’s design next year.

Willow was first runner-up in the first- to sixth-grade girls division.

“My husband helped them put the cars together and then this,” Gill said. “I wasn’t expecting any of them to win anything, but I was very surprised when she came home. I said, ‘That trophy is bigger than you are!’”

In a short, matter-of-fact explanation, Piper said she won because “there were butterflies on it.” She painted butterflies all across her small, flat cars.

Although, Gill said she wasn’t sure if she could decipher what part of the car was butterflies and what part was “rainbows” and “hearts.”

The car basically looks like a plank of wood with paint on it, Gill said, laughing.

Feeling happy about her first trophy, Piper said she wanted to compete again next year.

“I liked the event because I beat half of the girls,” Willow said.

Contact Courtney Griffin at or 254-501-7559

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