To a college engineering student, today’s event is almost as big as the N-C-double-A basketball tournament. Teams from six universities are gathering near Iowa City for the Concrete Canoe Competition, which organizers admit, sounds like an unlikely contest. Mike Welch is an engineering student at the University of Iowa, which is hosting the event. He says concrete is lighter than water if it’s designed right. His team has built a canoe out of concrete which he says somewhat resembles what most of us would recognize as a canoe.Welch says the competition teaches students practical aspects of engineering with hands-on experience instead of just reading textbooks. Plus, he says, it’s fun. There are two types of races being held today on Lake MacBride. One is a sprint and the other is an endurance race that includes a slalom. He says paddling a concrete canoe isn’t much different from a regular canoe — the difference is in trying to lift them outta’ the water — they’re heavy. Other teams are from: Iowa State University, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota State & North Dakota. Competition begins at 1:30 p-m.
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