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Utah State University to Host Regional Concrete Canoe Competition

Thursday, Mar. 28, 2013

members of USU Concrete Canoe team

Members of USU's Concrete Canoe team at a summer event (photo courtesy canoe team).

USU students make a mold for a concrete canoe

Team members working on a canoe mold. (photo courtesy canoe team)

Utah State University will host the Rocky Mountain American Society of Civil Engineers student conference and concrete canoe races April 4-6, on the Logan, Utah, campus.

Universities across the nation compete annually in the building and racing of canoes made from concrete. USU’s Civil Engineering Department is coordinating the event, but students from multiple areas in the College of Engineering participate.

“Most of the competitions are focused on structural engineering. It gives us a lot of pride to be able to represent USU and win the competitions,” said Alyssa Mustoe, conference coordinator.

Each of the 14 rocky mountain region universities participating this year design, create and race a canoe made from concrete. The canoes are judged on four equally weighted categories; a technical report, oral presentation, the final product and five canoe races.

All schools must strictly adhere to an 80-page book of rules, including what can and cannot be in the concrete, overall dimensions, use of paint and other items.

“Making the canoe is a very involved process,” said USU engineering student and captain of the canoe team Mitch Dabling. “We have been working on the project since the beginning of the school year in August. Our 26-member team has invested more than 1,650 hours thus far.”

Canoes will be on display April 5 on the USU Quad. Races will begin April 6 at noon at Hyrum Dam in Hyrum, Utah.

The concrete canoe competition is one of the oldest civil engineering competitions in the country, and Utah State began participating at the regional level in the 1980s.

USU has won the past two regional competitions. The winner of each regional competition moves on to compete for a monetary reward at the national level.

USU will host the competition again in 2025.

“It’s a great way to get involved in a fun and unique engineering project, while competing against other schools around the country,” said Dabling. “It has also helped me build a great network with other students.”

The conference also features other competitions, including a steel bridge competition. The top three schools of the regional steel bridge competition advance to the National Student Steel Bridge Competition to compete with the top 50 schools in the country.

Complete information on the ASCE conference is online, including a schedule.

Schools competing include Brigham Young University, Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State University, Metropolitan State University of Denver, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, New Mexico State University, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, United States Air Force Academy, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of New Mexico, University of Utah, University of Wyoming and Utah State University.

Related links:

Writer: Jaron Dunford, 920-246-2863,

Contact: Mitch Dabling, 801-510-2260,

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