Heavyweight competition on simmer for Spaghetti Bridge

More than 300 students from across the Okanagan paraded their pasta structures on stage today at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus for the 34th annual Spaghetti Bridge contest.

Students from elementary to post-secondary brought their engineering skills to a boil and constructed bridges of spaghetti, lasagna noodles and glue that were put to the test in one of four categories.

This year, the highly anticipated Heavyweight competition suffered a setback when the Fettuccine Fault Line (a hydraulic machine that places load on the bridges to test their capacity) malfunctioned, forcing organizers to postpone the event. With $1,500 of prize money on the line, the event organizers admit postponing the Heavyweight category was a difficult decision, but the right one.

“Rescheduling is disappointing, but the integrity of the competition must be held to the highest standard,” says head judge Dr. Andrew Hay, Vice President Education for the College. “It’s important for the students to know their hard work is taken seriously, so we must ensure their bridges are tested accurately using the proper equipment.”

The testing equipment is being analyzed and repaired, and all five competitors will be invited back to the College to battle for top honours in the Heavyweight category.

The other competitions do not use the same testing equipment and were carried out without a hitch. 

The heavyweight contest was completed on Saturday, March 18. 

The first-place winning team of Justin Dessert and Hanya Riddick took home the top cash prize of $1,500. The second place bridge was built by James Dessert, also of Lumby, and it held 207.29 kg of load and earned him a cash prize of $1,000.

A team of students from UBC Okanagan finished third in the contest, which was postponed after technical difficulties prevented the judges from testing the heavyweight bridges at the initial competition on March 3. Ephraim Nowak and Raphael Nowak built a bridge that failed under 120.58 kg of load.

“We were extremely pleased to recognize today’s competitors and be able to declare winners in the 2017 competition,” said event organizer Michelle Lowry. “We really appreciate the students’ patience while we worked to resolve our testing issues and are aware of just how much work goes into building these great bridges.”

In order to qualify for the competition, the bridges could not weigh more than 1 kg prior to testing.

Fourth place was not awarded, as the other bridge tested did not meet the minimum threshold of 10 kg of load.

Prize money for the event is generously provided by the event’s sponsors: the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of British Columbia (ASTTBC), PCL Construction, Okanagan College Students’ Union, OP Machine Ltd., WSP Group.

Complete Results

Heavyweight Competition
First - Justin Dessert and Hanya Riddick, Charles Bloom Secondary, Lumby, BC
Bridge weighed: 995.7 grams
Bridge held: 255.06 kg

Second: James Dessert, Charles Bloom Secondary, Lumby, BC
Bridge weighed: 835.6 grams
Bridge held: 207.29 kg

Third: Epraim Nowak and Raphael Nowak, UBC Okanagan
Bridge weighed: 911.4 grams
Bridge held: 120.58 kg

ASTTBC Team Building Competition, Post-Secondary
First – Raelyn Guenther, Megan Roeske, Darren Joyce, and Brett Siebert (Okanagan College)

ASTTBC Team Building Competition, Secondary
First – Daniel Stalker and Joshua Greencorn (King’s Christian)
Second – Oliver Cole, Jackson Rosco, Jacob Tizel, Arne Gairdner-Loe (KLO Middle)
Third- Alex Whitt, Jaden Seniuk, Ben Parker, Mitch Harris (Constable Neil Bruce Middle)

ASTTBC Secondary Competition
First – Justin Dessert (Charles Bloom Secondary)
Second– James Dessert (Charles Bloom Secondary)
Third – Jordan Wiseman (KLO Middle)
Fourth – James Birnie and Ken Flores (KLO Middle)
Fifth – Nicholas Mitchell (KLO Middle)