2016 Rocky Mountain Conference



Every year, students from the Civil Engineering Department at Brigham Young University compete in the ASCE Rocky Mountain Conference. Metropolitan State University of Denver and The University of Colorado Denver hosted this year’s conference. Over the three-day event, 440 people attended from 14 schools across 5 states. BYU students competed in several events including Mystery Design, Technical and Non-Technical paper presentations, Steel Bridge, and Concrete Canoe. Mystery Design invites students to work in teams with students from other participating school to solve engineering problems in a short amount of time. Two specific challenges were posed to each team: First, Leonardo Da Vinci’s Self Supporting Bridge and second, an activity where students worked to get a marble from one side of the table to the other using only rudimentary supplies. Four BYU students participated in this event and one was on the 2nd place team. Chris Garcia presented a Non-Technical Paper on Civil Engineering Ethics, while Marlee Seat presented a Technical Paper on Traffic Calming Measures. Both students presented their ideas and concepts clearly and efficiently.

The BYU Steel Bridge and Concrete Canoe teams both worked for eight months designing and fabricating their bridge and canoe, to prepare for this competition. The Steel Bridge Competition was held at the Auraria campus with two construction lanes, one lateral pull test station, and two vertical loading stations. The BYU Steel Bridge team, captained by Michael Scott and Ryan Beaumont, designed a bridge that would meet all design requirements of the problem statement given, including the height, length, and building techniques specified. In the problem statement, a staging area is outlined describing the location of a river and where builders are allowed to stand to assemble the bridge. The number of builders, the amount of time it takes to build the bridge, and the amount of deflection are key components of the Steel Bridge Competition. The goal of this competition is to design a bridge that is the lowest cost. BYU built their bridge with only three people and could build their bridge in 12.5 minutes. However, during the competition, there was an unforeseen circumstance that required our builders to find another way to get the bridge across the river than what was originally planned. This circumstance increased the original time it took to build the bridge substantially. Despite the setback in BYU’s plan, our Steel Bridge team was awarded 3rd place in Stiffness, Lightness, and Structural Efficiency and 4th place in the overall Steel Bridge Competition.

The Concrete Canoe Races were held at Soda Lake in Lakewood. The races included sprints, team paddles, and other fun activities that took place during the day. Every year, the BYU Concrete Canoe Team designs and tests different design mixes of varying materials to find the best mix for a Concrete Canoe which does in fact float. After a mix is chosen, the Concrete Canoe Team has a “pour day.” Many students in the Civil Engineering Department help pour the concrete into a mold created by the Concrete Canoe Team. The Concrete Canoe Team, captained by Maria Starkey and Chris Bender, created a canoe fashioned from materials found in the Wasatch Mountains, which continues to be a big part of the concrete canoe experience every year. The Concrete Canoe Competition has many different components including a design paper, oral presentation, display, and Men’s, Woman’s and Co-ed canoe races. Out of all the conference activities, the Concrete Canoe competition gives the biggest amount of points to the overall conference score. BYU scored 5th in the design paper, 6th in the oral presentation, and 7th in their display. Before the canoe races, swamp tests are performed on each school’s canoe to see if the canoe floats. BYU’s canoe had one end that struggled to float but after adding a little Styrofoam it was ready to race. Throughout the year, the team has paddling practice to prepare to race their Concrete Canoe. When the time came for the canoe races, our paddlers were ready. BYU took 2nd in the Woman’s Sprint and 3rd in the Woman’s Endurance and Men’s Endurance races, the best ranking BYU has achieved in races for the past few years. The BYU Concrete Canoe Team took 5th place overall in the Concrete Canoe Competition.

The Rocky Mountain Conference was attended by 29 students from the Civil Engineering Department and 2 faculty members. Because of the hard work and participation given by our students, BYU took 4th place overall at the conference.