A team of Red River College students picked up a pair of awards this month at the Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race in Calgary.
The annual celebration of innovation and engineering spirit draws teams of post-secondary students from all over Canada. Entrants must design and construct a five-person toboggan with a roll bar (capable of withstanding an upset at 75-km/hour), and a running surface composed entirely of concrete, while maintaining a total weight of less than 300 pounds.
All toboggans are subject to a safety inspection before being raced, and are judged on the basis of their concrete, frame, steering and brake design, as well as race-day results, team spirit, and a host of other criteria.
This year’s event was held Feb. 8-11, 2012, in Calgary. The eight-member RRC squad — comprised of students from Construction Management, Municipal Engineering Technology, Business Administration, and Industrial Arts — won the Green Team Award for most sustainable design, and was also named Most Improved Team.
“We did pretty well on race day last year, but we were a little last-minute on everything else … so we ended up coming in dead last in (total) points,” says team captain Carl Pedersen, a second-year Construction Management student at RRC.
“This year out of 19 teams, we were ninth … so we’re pretty happy with how everything came together. To be able to finish ahead of some of the biggest engineering schools in the country was a pretty big achievement for us.”
The Green Team award recognized the RRC team’s work in developing a sustainable concrete mix, a feat made possible with some help from team sponsor Antex Western. (Other sponsors included Parkwest Projects, Fabca Projects, Fiorentino Building and Renovations, and RRC and the RRC Students’ Association.)
“We put glass and shredded carpet in our concrete mix; the glass was replacing fine aggregate and the carpet was interior reinforcement,” says Pedersen. “And there were a lot of other elements on the sled, and with our technical exhibit and transportation, that we geared towards sustainability.”
Pedersen is currently completing the four-year Construction Management degree program at RRC, which means he and many of his teammates are already making plans for next year’s toboggan race in Vancouver.
Click here to see a video clip of the RRC team in competition. Click here for more information on the Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race, and here for more information on RRC’s Construction Management program.