Jon Bon Jovi’s boyhood experience with the Pinewood Derby was no Bed of Roses.

With no help from his dad when building the car, the future rocker was just Livin’ on a Prayer.

Decades later, when it was time for the Pinewood Derby with his own son, Bon Jovi basically told the boy: I’ll Be There for You.

As Bon Jovi prepares to enter the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this weekend in Cleveland, let’s take a quick look back at his time in Scouting.

‘I wasn’t very handy’

In the late 1960s, John Francis Bongiovi Jr. was a Cub Scout in New Jersey when the annual race rolled around.

“They say, ‘make a car out of this piece of wood,’” Bon Jovi told Jay Leno on the Feb. 7, 2002, episode of The Tonight Show. “I showed up at the race, the paint was wet, my hands were blue … ”

Bon Jovi told Leno he hadn’t gotten any help from his dad when building the car. One of his brothers, meanwhile, was very skilled at carving and “could make his car look like a real car that … if you put it on a table, you’d think, ‘oh, that was a real car.’”

And Jon Bon Jovi’s car?

“Mine, three of the wheels were on the same side,” he told Leno. “What I’m saying — it’s not good. I wasn’t very handy.”

‘We built the coolest car ever’

When it was time for his son to enter the Pinewood Derby, Bon Jovi boarded his plane and flew back to New Jersey just for the occasion.

“I’m hanging with my son. We built the coolest car ever,” he told Leno. “But I actually helped. My son did more than I did, and he’s 6, but, you know.”

The crowd laughed as Bon Jovi continued.

“I got to say I did something handy, and we’re taking a picture together and, you know, he’s got his arm around his dad, and I’ve got my two hands up showing my wife I didn’t cut myself — look, you know, it’s like I still got all my fingers. So that’s about as handy as I’m able to get.”

Share your story

Did you Have a Nice Day at the Pinewood Derby, or did you go down in a Blaze of Glory? Share your story below.

Thanks to Ron Blaisdell and Jay Bottorff for the tip.

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