Bob Williams went back to Clyde, Alberta $1,000 richer, with more fond memories of Okanagan University College to cherish and with bragging rights to the title of undisputed champion spaghetti bridge builder. Williams built a 742-gram bridge of pasta and glue that suspended a record 182-kilograms of steel plates for 10 seconds at OUC's 17th annual Spaghetti Bridge Contest. In non-metric terms, Williams' bridge weighed less than two pounds and held more than 401 pounds - more than 245 times its own weight. His nearest competitor, Lincoln Miller, built a bridge that collapsed at 166 kilograms (366 pounds). Miller's bridge coincidentally weighed exactly the same as Williams - 742 grams.The maximum mass allowed under the rules is 750 grams.
The old record for similar structures - 140 kg - belonged to Lincoln and was set in 1998. The most held by any spaghetti bridge previously - one of Williams - was 388 pounds, but it relied on an underslung structure, which is no longer allowed under the rules of the contest.
"I designed the bridge for 400 pounds, with 100 per cent safety," says Williams, hesitant to speculate how much weight might have been loaded on the bridge before it failed.
World Open Heavyweight Competition Results
Student Competition Results
Students entered pre-built bridges which could support a two-kilogram mass for five minutes.
Team Building Competition Results
The object of the contest was to build as light a bridge as possible that would still support a specified weight.
Sponsors for the event, which saw more than $4,700 in cash and scholarship prizes awarded, included: West Kootenay Power, Canadian Tire, Borden Foods (which provides the pasta), Stuntman Steve Francis, the OUC Faculty Association, OUC Student Association, the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia, the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of B.C., the Foundation for Education and Advancement of Technology, and the Black and Decker Corporation.