When the CO2 model car races began in 2009, the Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation had 16 participants. During the fifth annual race Thursday, that number increased to more than 200 participants.
For nearly three hours, the cars raced. The top 16 cars were selected based on speed. Of the 16, 13 were from Central High, two were from Duncan and one was from Bray-Doyle School. From this point, cars raced against each other with the winner of each race advancing to the next level. In the final four, one Central High vehicle was left to face two Duncan CO2 racers and one Bray-Doyle racer.
“This is so much fun,” Jeannie Bowden, DAEDF business and industry development, said.
This year marked several firsts. It was the first time middle school students (coming from the Duncan Middle School STEM program) were able to participate. It also involved a move to the Simmons Center gym to allow for more space for the races and the DAEDF Job Expo, which was the initial program that launched the CO2 races.
This was also the first year there were two tracks for cars to compete on. This helped to speed up the racing process by moving through vehicles and set up time more quickly.
DAEDF President Lyle Roggow said this year’s Job Expo and CO2 racers went well, as both have continued to grow. He said this year did show that the career fair and the CO2 races are becoming more independent of each other.
“We had a great Job Expo and a great race,” Roggow said. “They’re almost two separate events now.”
DMS teacher Tammy Bennett was recognized for bringing the most students to the CO2 races. Being the first time the middle school has gotten to participate, Bennett said the students will take away a great amount of knowledge, much of it self taught.
Bennett said the CO2 car project is something the STEM students did mostly on their own time as an assignment for the class. She said the students and she learned through the project.
“I didn’t know anything about CO2 cars at all,” Bennett said. “From what I’ve seen, I’ll be changing how I teach it next year.”
Although 16 of the top vehicles were from Central High, one was from the Duncan Middle School. In fact, Mattie Bivens was about to make it to the final four before she was eliminated from the competition by her older brother, Mason.
Mason Bivens came in second place for the races, but took first place in the overall event, which focuses on the races and the engineering aspect of the project. This was his second time to compete in the competition.
The brother and sister built three cars with the last one being the vehicles they submitted for the competition. Mason Bivens said it took several tries to get the vehicle that was just right to race.
“It’s great,” Bivens said after winning the overall award. “A lot of work went into it.”
By winning the top award, Bivens received a check for $400 and a $1,000 tuition waiver to Cameron University. Mattie Bivens came in third place in the overall event. She also received a tuition waiver in the amount of $400.
Although Mason Bivens did win top award, he placed second in the race. He was bested by Kaylee Deforest, who’s CO2 racer won with a time of 0.555.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Deforest said.
She said a lot of work went into making the vehicle, from hollowing out a piece of wood to creating a design for the vehicle. She said it took a while to hollow out the wood to make the vehicle ready and light enough to race.
“Last year, I was going to do the design I did this year, but my piece of wood broke,” Deforest said. “I decided to do it again this year. It was pretty cool.”
At the end of the event, awards were given to students in several categories. These include:
- People’s choice — Shellie Marney of Central High, 1st; Hayden Webb of Duncan, 2nd; Chelsea Hurlocker of Central High, 3rd.
- Engineering — Kaylee Hartman of Red River Technology Center, 1st; Mason Bivens of Duncan, 2nd; Sydney Blalock of Duncan, 3rd.
- Race — Kaylee Deforest of Central High, 1st; Mason Bivens of Duncan, 2nd; Craig Brown of Bray, 3rd.
- Overall — Mason Bivens of Duncan, 1st; Kaylee Deforest of Central High, 2nd; Mattie Bivens of Duncan, 3rd.