Edible Vehicle competition brings sweet treat to BSE E-Day celebration
Engineering requires plenty of testing to make certain projects are going to meet specifications. And so it was with the Edible Vehicle Competition for the annual E-Day, hosted by the Department of Biological Systems Engineering on Dec. 5 at the Nebraska East Campus Union.
In the annual competition for students in an introductory biological systems and agricultural engineering course, close to 30 teams designed cars made entirely of food products and competed against each other.
Teams rolled cars down a sloped track to see which one travels farthest, and teams also were judged for creativity and design as well as presenting their vehicle and a poster to judges.
After their two runs down the track, three team members must devour their creation -- capped at a maximum of 1,500 calories -- in less than four minutes.
Most teams tested their cars to make sure they'd move down the track. Some tweaked them to increase distance, shaving off a little of a raw potato or making the rice-cereal treats a little more aerodynamic.
Team Sweet Tooth (comprised of Edward Sierra-Lee, Jaden Schovanec, Lukas Fields and Chandler Brock) decided it would be prudent to test how well their car design -- using a pair of hoagie rolls for the body, six round fudge-covered cookies for wheels, pretzels for axels and gummy rounds to hold everything in place -- would meet the time requirements in the eating competition.
"We thought it would be a piece of cake to get it done," said Sierra-Lee. "We started going and, surprisingly, the cookies, pretzels and gummies are not as good of a combo as you would think. Lukas said it was too much, the sweetness was overwhelming."
In the end, some teams took home awards:
Creativity first place: "The Candymen" -- Gavin Wilhite, Rachel Stanek, Nate Iverson and Marissa Golgosky.
Overall Design first place: "We Don't Carrot All" -- Lauren Brown, Tyler Miller, Anna Boothe and Megan Otte.
Distance second place: "Veggie Victors" -- James Eno, Abigail Smith, Regan Monhollon and Andrew Hedstrom.
Distance third place: "Dilly Dilly" -- Raghavendra Singh Raghuwanshi, Jackson VanLaningham, Adan Redwine and Natalia Cardona.
Team Sweet Tooth didn't take home the big awards, but they did learn engineering lessons -- especially that even their approach to eating the vehicle in four minutes was going to be, well, a test that not even a traditional holiday feast could prepare them for.
"We figured the professional hot dog eaters dip their bread in water before they eat, so that was kind of our thought process," said Sierra-Lee. "It wasn't as easy as we thought it would be."
"This is more difficult than Thanksgiving," said Schovanec. "I’m always excited for Thanksgiving dinner because I know it’s all going to be delicious."
"Plus," Sierra-Lee added, "at Thanksgiving you get to take your time, we only get four minutes for this."
Schovanec laughed and said, "That’s how long it takes to eat my Thanksgiving dinner, too."
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