Guenther’s 2.13-lbs. bridge known as “Arnold” held 391.1 times its weight; balancing 1,100 lbs. of free weights and a small section of a steel beam before collapsing into a pile of rubble. Not only did he win the 2020 contest, it also put him in third place on the competition’s all-time Top 20 list. The record is held by Richard Stubben, Creighton, whose 3.40 lbs. bridge held 765.5 times its own weight, balancing 2,607.5 lbs. in 2019.
Guenther, Norfolk, was one of five second year drafting students to take part in this year’s competition. He received $100 dollars and a certificate from Nucor. Two other students, Noah Kalvelage, Battle Creek, and Shelby Stelling, Osmond, also entered the competition’s all-time Top 20. Kalvelage’s 2.07 lbs. bridge held 480 lbs. or 234.9 times its weight which puts him 11th in the Top 20, while Stelling’s 4.9 lbs. structure held 975 lbs. or 211.7 times its weight placing her 12th on the list.
Other students competing were Kelby Schaefer and Trenton Randles, Norfolk, whose bridges faced similar fates of collapse after holding the weight.
The competition is designed to demonstrate the structural integrity and structural concentration of the bridges the students spend weeks and months constructing. The competition, organized by Michael Holcomb, Northeast structural CAD (computer aided design)/drafting instructor, is normally held the last week of the academic year each May.
“This contest is based entirely off weight ratio. Joseph’s winning bridge holding 391 times its weight is pretty impressive,” Holcomb said. “This group did an exceptional job and I’m going to miss them. They have gone through extraordinary measures this second semester in my opinion. I’m just very thankful to the College for allowing us to do this in order to give us some sense normalcy to end out the year. I appreciate that.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all competitors wore facemasks and rubber gloves. In between each bridge, students changed gloves and disinfected the weights and competition surfaces. This year’s competition moved back into Holcomb’s classroom in the Maclay building from the Cox Activities Center Theatre as audience members could only watch the event through an online livestream produced by Brian Anderson, Northeast mass media – broadcasting instructor.
The program may be viewed anytime at https://team1sports.com/northeastcc/.
Northeast Community College drafting student Joseph Guenther, Norfolk, places weight on his popsicle stick-built bridge and then watches as it collapses under the weight of 1,100 lbs. Guenther’s bridge held 391 times its weight in winning the annual event. He also earned third place on the competition’s all-time Top 20 list. The drafting program competition is designed to demonstrate the structural integrity and structural concentration of the bridges the students spend weeks and months constructing.