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Baja SAE competition returns to PSU

December 05, 2013 1:45PM

Officials from Pittsburg State University and the City of Pittsburg gathered on Thursday to announce that PSU will once again host Baja SAE – Kansas. The event, which will draw thousands of competitors from across the U.S. and numerous other countries, is set for May 22-25, 2014.

“We are very excited to once again host this important event,” said PSU President Steve Scott. “Hosting Baja SAE – Kansas allows us to showcase our university and our community for visitors from around the world. The fact that PSU was chosen to host the event just three years after hosting it for the first time is a testament to the strong spirit of cooperation between the university and the community.”

Baja SAE consists of competitions that simulate real-world engineering design projects and their related challenges. Engineering students are tasked with designing and building an off-road vehicle that will survive the severe punishment of rough terrain. The competition involves designing, planning and manufacturing.

Students must function as a team to not only design, build, test, promote, and race a vehicle within the limits of the rules, but also to generate financial support for their project and manage their educational priorities.

Trent Lindbloom and Bob Schroer, both assistant professors in Automotive Technology, are coordinating the event.

“The cap for the competition is 100 teams,” Lindbloom said, “and we quickly reached that number through online registration. There are about 16 teams on a waiting list, in case someone drops out.”

The teams registered include universities from across the U.S. as well as teams from Egypt, Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Argentina, Venezuela, Bangladesh and India.

Teams from the U.S. include Arizona State University, Auburn, Baylor, Clemson, Michigan State, Northwestern, Penn State, University of Alabama, University of Illinois, University of Kentucky, University of Michigan, University of Tennessee and the University of Virginia. Pitt State’s entry, Gorilla I, carries the nickname of “Dorothy.”

Lindbloom said the competition is expected to bring more than 1,100 competitors, along with friends and spectators to Pittsburg.

“Crawford County, the City of Pittsburg and the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce and are excited to partner with PSU to bring Baja SAE – Kansas back to Pittsburg,” said B.J. Harris, director of the Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The benefits of having so many visitors in our community are obvious and we’re confident that those who come here will find it welcoming and a wonderful place to spend some time.”

Lindbloom said the support of the community was one of the reasons Baja SAE returned to PSU.

“One of the things that impressed them most (Baja SAE officials) was the community and how them made the competitors feel welcome,” Lindbloom said. “When the teams came into town, they saw welcome messages marquees and signs along Broadway. That’s not the case in many cities where the competitions are held.”

Lindbloom said officials were also impressed with how well organized the 2011 event was.

“We were the first to ever live-stream the endurance event,” Lindbloom said. “That made it possible for friends and family to watch the competition live from anywhere around the world.”

The four-hour endurance competition, held on a course built by PSU east of the Bicknell Sports Complex, is a brutal test for the vehicles. This year, Lindbloom said, PSU is tweaking the endurance course to make it even better for spectators.

“We’re making some slight changes in the course so that nearly all of it will be viewable for the spectators,” Lindbloom said.

Although the competition is still six months away, Lindbloom said, there is plenty of work to do.

“Right now is the important time for a lot of organization and planning,” Lindbloom said. “We’re lining up local sponsors and that’s critical to the success of the event.”

He said anyone interested in becoming a sponsor can contact him at 620-235-4198.

For more information on Baja SAE – Kansas, visit pittstate.edu/info/baja2014

©2013 Pittsburg State University

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