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Bucatini pasta aficionados take Spaghetti Bridge

The winners of the 30th anniversary Okanagan College Spaghetti Bridge Contest turned to Rome and its famous bucatini pasta to build the winning heavyweight structure at the 30th anniversary Okanagan College Spaghetti Bridge competition.

“Bucatini has four times the strength of regular spaghetti,” said second year Civil Engineering Technology student Shawn Bliss, from Armstrong, headed up design on the five-member Okanagan College team along with Aaron Watson, Cody Pointner, Erik Fountain, and Glenn Watson.

The team took the top prize Friday afternoon at the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College when their 996.24 gram bridge withstood a load of 195.99 kg (432 pounds) before it shattered in front of a packed house of elementary, secondary and post-secondary students.

Bliss and his team broke with convention, but not the rules. They halved the typical number of spokes down to 62, relying on the pasta’s thickness to sustain the tension.

“We spent 60 hours on it, maybe more, and pulled a couple of all nighters,” he said.

Jason Jung, manager of member and program development with Applied Science Technologists & Technicians of B.C., spent the day watching the event, including the winning team’s performance.

“It was unbelievable,” he said. “What the winner did was use the same material, but configured it in a different way to handle the stress. That’s pretty impressive, and the fact that it’s Okanagan College students and civil engineering technology students is something to be proud of.”

Coming in second place was the team of Christien Issler whose 987.91 gram bridge held 162.48 kg. Third place went to the team lead by Dean Ogren, who entered with a bridge weighing 858.81 grams, and withstood 149.75 kg before shattering.

The day-long event saw students of all ages playing with dried pasta, using up glue sticks, and putting together structures of all kinds.

In the post-secondary competition teams are challenged to build bridges that can hold a two-kilogram weight for five minutes without failing. The lightest bridge to meet the challenge wins.

In the Post-secondary Team competition, the winners were:

1st – Jason Lotoski from Okanagan College (bridge weighed 64.9 grams)
2nd – Deryck Irmen from Okanagan College (bridge weight 69.5 grams)
3rd – Carson Todd from Okanagan College (bridge weighed 143.5 grams)

In the secondary competition, where students are challenged to build a bridge that will hold one kilogram of weight for five minutes without failing, the lightest bridge to meet the challenge wins.

Top Secondary students were:
1st – James Dessert from Charles Bloom Secondary, Lumby (bridge weighed 157.6 grams)
2nd – Johnathan Halbgwachs from Charles Bloom Secondary, Lumby (bridge weighed 160.8 grams)
3rd – Christien Issler from Charles Bloom Secondary, Lumby (bridge weighed 180.3 grams)
4th – Alex Lee from KLO Middle School, Kelowna (bridge weighed 195.4 grams)
5th – Eric Hong from KLO Middle School, Kelowna (bridge weighed 200 grams)

In the Secondary Team competition, winners were:

1st –  Devin Reinholz from KLO Middle (bridge weighed 66.3 grams)
2nd – McIvor Brodie from Kings Christian School, in Salmon Arm (bridge weighed 84.6 grams
3rd – Dylan Hare from Kelowna Secondary (bridge weighed 89.2 grams)

The world record for the Okanagan College Spaghetti Bridge Contest was set in 2006 by two Hungarian students Norbert Pozsonyi and Aliz Totivan from Szechenyi Istvan University of Gyor whose bridge held a staggering 443.58 kilograms.

The 30th Spaghetti Bridge competition was sponsored by the title sponsor Applied Science Technologists & Technicians of British Columbia (ASTTBC). Additional sponsors were Arthon, CTQ, PCL, Eastside Mario’s, Multi-Power Products Ltd., AECOM, Okanagan Precision Machine Ltd., MMM Group, Interior Testing Services Ltd., Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of B.C., and Okanagan College Student Union.