23 Teams Compete to See if Concrete Floats
By Associated Press
Fri Jun 16, 7:49 AM
STILLWATER, Okla. - Can concrete float? Twenty-three student teams from around the country are competing in a concrete canoe competition to find out.
Staying afloat has a lot at stake _ there's even a national champion.
The 19th annual competition is organized by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
The teams competing for the championship put their boats through aesthetic, presentation and swamping tests on Thursday, with technical presentations on Friday and, finally, a series of races Saturday on Boomer Lake in Stillwater. Teams came from coast to coast and from Canada to the Gulf.
Mike Carnivale, chairman of the national competition committee, said designing, building and floating these concrete canoes pushed students to learn in a way they might not elsewhere.
"They learn about concrete, design, project management, the works," Carnivale said.
Matt Kinney, leaning against The Arrrgregate, a boat adorned with skulls-and-crossbones, said his team couldn't begin to calculate the hours that went into designing their boat. Just getting it from the University of Maine to the competition took 37 hours on the road.
"Our goal was to get here," Kinney said.
Almost every team expressed a desire to win the national championship, and each touted different virtues of its canoe.
Roy Berryman said the University of Alabama-Huntsville team saw technology as its edge. Unlike the rigid design of most boats, the Huntsville, Ala., team constructed a sleek, black canoe that flexes in the water.
"We want to win nationals," Berryman said.
"Yeah," added Jordan Farina, another team member, "we're going to Disneyland."