Okanagan College students carb load their way through Spaghetti Bridge contest

Okanagan College's 32nd Annual spaghetti bridge contest wrapped up Friday afternoon

2015 Spaghetti Bridge heavyweight champion Adrian Schartner entered the competition for the first time this year

As another truckload of broken, glue-encrusted pasta heads to the dump, the Okanagan’s newest crop of budding engineers get a chance to evaluate their mistakes and successes in preparation for next year’s most popular carb loading event.

Okanagan College’s 32nd Annual spaghetti bridge competition wrapped up Friday afternoon, after another successful run.  For those who haven’t squeezed their way in to see the popular event in person, it’s a spectacle to behold.

Noodles are woven and glued into mini-bridges, then used to carry a growing weight that’s broadcast to an audience, through a digital scale. As it starts to give way, pops and cracks echo across the room.  Then, if you’re lucky, the whole bridge will shatter, creating a confetti-effect onstage.

It’s an abrupt end to a project that some dedicate hundreds of hours to, yet students continue to line up to take part.

Rick Schouten, Keanan MIllar, Zack Ricketts and Gurleen Gang embarked on their first spaghetti bridge challenge this year, and they all said they’d do it again.

All four are first year civil engineering students at the Kelowna campus and took on the project outside their coursework.

“We did it in our spare time… what little we have,” said Millar, noting that the preparing for the contest coincided with midterms.

It was fun… and stressful at times,  Schouten and Gang said.

And, noted Ricketts, it looks good on scholarship applications.

As they readied themselves for the bridge-breaking spectacle, they explained a few tricks to building a superior pasta bridge.

“You have to find the right materials,” said Millar.

“We went to a lot of local delis to find the strongest pasta.”

When asked which Kelowna shop carried the best, all four chimed in simultaneously, “Valorosa Foods, for sure.”

They also thought a lot about what design would be the heartiest and unanimously landed on the spoke design.

With the design and materials in place, they spent another week putting it together.

It was a pretty good design, and they were pretty sure it would hold its own. The only trouble was that it weighed 250 grams more than it was supposed to, so hours before it was brought on stage, they were still hacking away pieces so it could enter.

So much shaving was required that they weren’t entirely sure the structure would hold.

“I was really confident about it before,” said Schouten.

In the post secondary category, they didn’t place in the Top 3.

First place in that category went to  Anna Offenwanger, Marissa White, Ephraim Nowak from UBC Okanagan, second was bestowed upon  Kyler Lucas, Rhett Munson, Curtis Hull, Taylor Milsom from Okanagan College and third was awarded to Julie Humphries, Robert Kemmler, Derek Penson, Siyuan Liu also from Okanagan College.

Adrian Schartner, 12,  from Lumby placed first with his bridge weighing 982.6 grams and supporting 275.6 kilograms before spectacularly collapsing in front of cheering friends, peers, teachers and parents. His bridge was the only one to break the 200-kilogram pressure threshold. Brendan Mattenley placed second with 196.68 kilograms of pressure, and in third was defending champion James Dessert with 171.83 kilograms of pressure.

“We knew we wanted curved bridges, those always do well in the competition. For my bridge, I created a heavier arch by using four strands of barilla. While it’s a lighter pasta, having more of it made it stronger,” said said Schartner, who is home-schooled.

For building the strongest bridge, he received a $1500 prize cheque, courtesy of the event’s sponsors: the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of British Columbia (ASTTBC), PCL Construction, Okanagan College Students’ Union, MMM Group, AECOM, OP Machine Ltd., Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (APEG), WSP Group, and Interior Testing Services Ltd

All in all 248 participating students created recipes for success with their bridges. Students from Lumby and Salmon Arm in the north all the way to Osoyoos in the south participated in building bridges in both demonstration and competition categories.

In the team-building category, 58 teams registered (48 in secondary and 10 in the post-secondary division). The Spaghetti Bridge world record of 443.58 kilograms was established in Kelowna in 2009 by a team from Hungary and continues to be undefeated.




Just Posted

Keeping pets safe at Christmas

This time of year presents a lot of possible health hazards for our pets

West Kelowna to stick with regional transportation planning

City council votes to rescind its move to leave regional planning body

Vehicle fire in Kelowna quarry

A vehicle in a Stewart Road quarry burned Thursday morning.

Crash snarls commuter traffic in West Kelowna

One was injured in a crash Wednesday afternoon.

Vernon at centre of rail trails convergence

More local development input sought for Okanagan and North Okanagan/Shuswap rail trails

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

Disney buying part of 21st Century Fox in $52.4B deal

Disney is buying a large part of the Murdoch family’s 21st Century Fox for about $52.4 billion

Bountiful polygamist believed he couldn’t be prosecuted: lawyer

Winston Blackmore’s lawyer says Blackmore did not believe he could be prosecuted

Woman charged after altercation injured baby in Toronto

Charges have been laid after a four-month-old baby girl was critically injured in Toronto

Anderson extends invitation to Liberal voters

Interim B.C. Conservative party leader invites “disenfranchised Liberal voters” to join his party

Ottawa Senators forward Chris Neil announces retirement

Veteran Ottawa Senators forward Chris Neil spent 15 seasons with the NHL team

Trudeau’s office confirms staffer being probed over allegations

PMO confirms staffer being probed over allegations of reported “inappropriate behaviour.”

Police kill gunman north of Toronto

Police shot and killed a gunman during a hostage situation at a bank north of Toronto

#MeToo at work: B.C. women share horrifyingly common sexual assaults

It happens to more people than you might think and impacts women inside and outside of the workplace

Most Read