The Duncan Banner
In Mason Bivens’ third year of competition, he appears to have gotten the hang of making a drag racer out of a block of wood.
Bivens on Thursday won first place in all three categories as well as the fastest car trophy at the annual youth engineering contest sponsored by the Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation.
“It’s a very, very good day,” Bivens said. “The first two years were a learning experience.”
The contest challenged students from 7th to 12th grade to make the best-designed, fastest drag racer they could from a $6 kit.
The pint-size vehicles are propelled by a small CO2 cartridge.
Bivens began his project about six weeks before the races took place on Thursday at the gym of Duncan High School.
He focused first on the design and wasn’t ready to paint his creation until four days before the competition, he said.
“I love this,” Bivens said. “It’s a great challenge.”
Lyle Roggow, DAEDF president, said the competition may be entertaining for the youths, but he said the event goes deeper.
“This is work force development,” Roggow said. “We’re making learning fun, but we’re trying to nurture our future workforce.”
By creating their own CO2 racers, the students have to use math and various skills that they may use in the workforce, Roggow said.
He said the popularity of the event has continued to grow.
For Bivens, his focus this year was making sure his vehicle was aerodynamic. He described the race as nerve-wracking, especially when the vehicles were put to the test.
“For us, we don’t know if a car is going to race or not,” Bivens said. “We find out during the first race.”
Roggow said the competition has become popular because of the community support and because of teachers and parents encouraging students to get involved. In 2008, the first year of the competition, 17 CO2 racers were entered. This year, about 360 racers competed.
“This is a project that, honestly, we will not recognize the benefits of for a few years,” Roggow said. “It all starts with a block of wood.”
First place winners were awarded $300, second place $200 and third place $100. In the People’s Choice Awards, $100 went to the first place finisher, $50 to second place and $25 for third place.
Youth Engineering Contest results
Engineering — Third: Nathaniel Lim, Duncan home school; second: Gavin Banks, Marlow; first: Sam McGough, Duncan.
CO2 race — Third: Addie Watkins, Duncan; second: Lucas Contrearas, Empire; first: Wyatt Armstrong, Empire.
Overall — Third: Chandler Pressy, Empire; second: Mora Bivens, Duncan; first: Jared Warburton, Duncan.
Engineering — Third: Brennan DeHart, Red River Technology Center; second: Kylie Pewitt, Duncan; first: Mason Bivens, Duncan.
CO2 race — Third: Chelsey Nunley, Central High; second: Michael Womack, Central High; first: Mason Bivens, Duncan.
Overall — Third: Thomas Hoover, Central High; second: Chris Totty: Red River Technology Center; first: Mason Bivens, Duncan.
Fastest Car Award — Mason Bivens, Duncan.
People’s choice — Third: Brooklyn Bostick, Duncan Middle School; second: Hayden Webb, Duncan High School; first: Josh Ruiz, Central High.
Cameron Scholarships — Chelsey Nunley, Kade Taylor, Erick Vanderslice.