Mr. Linganore contestants engineer success in gumdrop tower building competition


Catie Jo Tansey

Joel Tate looks over nervously at Andrew Nash´s tower.

by Matthew Gelhard and Allison King

See related story:  Slideshow of the gumdrop towers.

During third lunch on March 8, the Mr. Linganore XXL contestants built gumdrop towers to finish off the competitions for the day. The previous two lunch shift competitions consisted of cake decorating and making sweetheart love letters.

The goal of the contest was to construct the tallest free standing tower with the only materials available: 70 gumdrops, 200 toothpicks, and a little bit of brain power.

Some of the contestants came in to this event with a plan, but not many of the contestants practiced.

Josh Watson said, “The way I live my life has prepared me for this moment.”

Coincidently, Josh Watson was unable to attend this specific competition because of a mandatory county SGA meeting where he was a key participant. His manager Alex Tran filled in for him.

Lars Eklund said, “I have a strong chance, but I’m not going to sleep on anyone. I have to stay alert.”    

Most of the contestants approached this contest from a different angle. Devin Barge chose to make a wider base, a 3×3 square to be exact, in hopes of creating a sturdier tower. Lars Ecklund thought a hexagonal base would give his tower an edge over the other contestants.  

The contestants were neck and neck throughout the duration of the competition.

Amidst the chaos of the competition, Joel Tate took a second to admire the integrity of his tower, calling it the “sexiest tower” he’s ever seen.  

When the timer went off, all contestants were asked to remove their hands from their towers and back away from the table. Spectators watched as one by one, all but one of the towers slowly toppled over.  

Devin Barge’s tower slowly fell into Lars Eklund’s and knocked it over. “I was sabotaged by Devin’s tower,” says Eklund. “It was very frustrating because I think my tower would’ve finished first, but sometimes things just don’t work out.”

Joel Tate was enraged when Andrew Nash’s tower knocked his over as well. “I am angry because my tower was freestanding and Nash’s knocked mine over. I’m upset that I have to pay the price for his poor engineering abilities.”  

Nash was disappointed that he wasn’t given titanium toothpicks. “The wooden toothpicks were weaker than I expected. Titanium would’ve been better.”

Mrs. Michelle Gilmore, a former math teacher and now the assistant principal, was recruited to measure the towers. She took the job so seriously, she even kneeled on the ground to measure the towers of contestants Nash and Tate.

Alex Tran was disappointed that his tower was measured last. He really thought he had a chance of winning, but, unfortunately, his tower was the last one to be measured and Mrs. Gilmore took a long time to get to measure his tower, which fell last.

Erick Stutz’s tower was the only one that didn’t fall or collapse. He was very surprised by the win, seeing as his tower was one of the shortest (9″) of all the contestants.

“I’m kind of surprised I won,” he said. “It just goes to show that slow and steady wins the race.”  

The results of all three contests will be announced at the event on Saturday, March 10.  Tickets can be purchased for $10 at the door for the 7pm show. Don’t miss out!  

Watch a video of the challenge here.