Calera BUV team wins national competition

Published 11:25 am Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Calera High School engineering team recently defeated 13 colleges and high schools from across the country in an Indiana basic utility vehicle competition.

During the competition, Calera High School students Kyle Brasher, T.J. Killingsworth, Matt Young, Matt Templin, Austin Wright and Danny Diaz showed off the basic utility vehicle they have worked the past year to design and construct.

Competition officials judged each team’s vehicle on several categories, including cost of production, obstacle course performance and endurance.

The Calera team took home first place in the competition’s open class, which challenged teams to build a basic utility vehicle from the ground up. The competition also featured a separate main class, in which teams constructed three-wheeled vehicles out of pickup truck components.

Calera defeated John Brown University, the University of Cincinnati, Purdue University, Independent University and Trine University in the open class. Overall, Calera’s score was second only to the State University of New York.

“Ours was a very well-built vehicle,” said Brian Copes, an engineering teacher at Calera and BUV team advisor. “The students worked really hard on it.”

During the competition, the teams sought to build vehicles capable of filling transportation needs in developing countries.

Calera’s vehicle was unique, because it can be shipped in kit form and assembled with basic hand tools, Copes said.

“It can easily be sent to remote locations, and anyone with basic hand tools can assemble it,” Copes said. “We were the only team at the competition that achieved that goal.”

This year marked the fourth consecutive year a BUV team under Copes’ leadership has won the competition’s open class. Defeating colleges and high schools from across the country makes the Calera students more confident as they prepare to enter their college careers.

“This is the first time some of these kids have experienced academic success,” Copes said. “Now, they realize that college engineering programs are not beyond them.

“They are not only competing against these colleges, they’re winning,” Copes added.