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College opens Spaghetti Bridge contest to the public

Engineers, construction enthusiasts or anyone interested in battling their wits to build a spaghetti bridge can take part in a one-time only contest being held to celebrate 30 years of the Okanagan College Spaghetti Bridge Building Contest.

“Over the decades hundreds of post-secondary and secondary school students have taken part in the contest, and we thought it would be great if some of them came back to try their hand at it again,” said Michelle Lowry, who organizes the event.

Spaghetti Bridge 2013 takes place March 1 at  Okanagan College.

The event includes bridge-building competitions for secondary and post-secondary students, plus the popular Heavyweight competition, open to full-time secondary or post-secondary students.

Registration for all the events, including the new Open Heavyweight Competition, is being accepted through to Feb. 14.

“It would be great to see the general public, or even professional engineers vie for the top spot in this fun category,” said Lowry.

“This is a friendly competition, with no prize money at stake, but with only six spots available, it could make for some great design competition.”

Kyle Stewart, who competed as an Okanagan College student in the 2011 competition and is now working as an engineering designer at Aplin & Martin in Kelowna, likes the idea of this one-time open event.

“I think a lot of people would be interested in taking part in something like this,” Stewart said.

“It would be good for us to get out there as a team, and compete against other engineering firms in a friendly manner. It’s also a great team-building exercise.”

Since the contest started, students from around the world have used up millions of pounds of dried spaghetti to build bridges that can withstand substantial loads.

Last year, the winning heavyweight competitor was Peter Sandor, an engineering student from College of Nyiregyhaza, in Hungary, whose bridge weighed in at 967 grams and held 384.06 kg before shattering. The heavyweight record was set in 2006 by two other Hungarians whose bridge held 443.58 kilograms.

The title sponsor for the event is the Applied Science Technologists & Technicians of B.C.

Prizes for the regular part of the competition range from $150 for individuals and up to $400 per team in the secondary and post-secondary competitions, to $1,500 for the first prize in the heavyweight competition.

This year’s event also features an elementary school demonstration where students are being encouraged to build a replica of the new, or old, Port Mann Bridge in Metro Vancouver.

Contest rules and registration forms are available on the Okanagan College Spaghetti Bridge Building Contest website at www.okanagan.bc.ca/spaghettibridge.

 

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