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Okanagan kids to use their noodles for engineering feats

Heavweight winners Johnathan Halbgwochs (right) and Clayton Mazu retrieve the remains of their bridge which withstood 209 kg of pressure before breaking and won the annual Okanagan College spaghetti bridge building contest in 2011. - Sean Connor
Heavweight winners Johnathan Halbgwochs (right) and Clayton Mazu retrieve the remains of their bridge which withstood 209 kg of pressure before breaking and won the annual Okanagan College spaghetti bridge building contest in 2011.
— image credit: Sean Connor

Some 186 competitors will head to the Okanagan College campus on KLO Road today for the highly anticipated Spaghetti Bridge Contest.

With 36 teams competing in the team-building portion of the event, not to mention four individuals and a team in the heavyweight category and a mix of individuals and teams in the lightweight, it promises great triumphs and sorrows.

"My favourite part of the contest is watching the elementary school students get excited about engineering and the creativity and ingenuity it requires," said Michelle Lowry, contest organizer.

In the past, teams had travelled from all over the world, with those from Hungary, in particular, bringing a foreboding presence for local contenders who watched them stack up spectacular attempts year over year.

The teams from Hungary seem to have dried up in the last few years, Lowry said. She believes there was another competition in that country and they were sending the winners, but she hasn't had an entrant from the area for 2014.

There was a prospective entrant eyeing the event from India; his visa didn't fall into place.

This leaves the field of play to Okanagan students who have watched the competition take shape and know, for example, that the arc-shaped bridges tend to fare the best in the heavyweight category.

The heavyweight competitors build a bridge which must weigh less than 1000 grams and hold more than 10 kilograms, all out of spaghetti. The event begins at 10 a.m. in the Student Services building, and there is a live webcast.

 

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