O-W team heads to national Rube Goldberg competition - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

O-W team heads to national Rube Goldberg competition

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OWEN (WAOW) -- An Owen-Withee team is heading to a national tournament this weekend -- all for making something as easy as popping a balloon into a 28-step process. Creativity trumps simplicity in this high school competition.

The fire-breathing dragon is more complicated than he looks. A ball rolling down a tube starts a chain reaction -- that eventually blows up a balloon. All that -- with just 28 simple steps.

"Which hits another mouse trap, which pulls the other ball which knocks the boat from here to here, knocking this down starting our air compressor and then the balloon pops because the dragon's teeth are sharp," said Owen-Withee 9th grader Tony DeLuca.

The Viking Village is part of their Rube Goldberg project. The Owen-Withee team took first place with it at the regional competition.

"We had the dragon idea, we had the catapult and we had the houses for the longest while," said Owen-Withee 10th grader Tom DeLuca. "We didn't know what to do around those steps to put it all together"

Students flexed their creative muscles to do an easy task in the most complicated way they could imagine.

"We work on the steps separately and then bring them together when we needed them," said Tony. "We put them in and tested it and if it didn't work, we took the parts out, fixed them and tried again."

The students took their dragon masterpiece to UW-Stout for the regional competition. They said they surprised themselves by topping teams from around the state.

"Everybody was on the edge of their seats when they were announcing all the medals and stuff like that," said Tom. "We were like, okay, fourth place is so-and-so. And third place -- and we were like, really? We got this high up?"

They'll take their talents to Michigan this weekend, competing against 13 other teams in the national contest and hoping to show that making something this complicated -- isn't as hard as it looks.

This was the first time a team from Owen-Withee high school entered the contest. Some of the students said after their success so far, they wouldn't mind trying again next year.

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