The competition, which will welcome 100 international and domestic teams to the PSU campus May 26-30, is the first time a Baja SAE competition has been held in the state of Kansas in 10 years. About 2,000 people are expected to travel to Pittsburg for the events, which range from Baja design competitions to outdoor track exercises and a four-hour endurance race.
Students and faculty from across the college are busily preparing for the event. In automotive technology, professor and competition co-organizer Trent Lindbloom said PSU Baja competitors are putting in long hours constructing their vehicles. Two teams, each with approximately 12 students, are designing and assembling their Baja vehicles, which must hold up to the tough terrain of the tracks and the strict design rules of the competition.
In the Department of Graphics and Imaging Technology, Lindbloom said professors have students working on designs for brochures, banners, websites and t-shirts. Students have been tasked with creating hundreds of signs to be placed around the event.
Donations have also begun coming in for the development of the competition site, located on acreage east of Rouse Street. Construction students have cut an access road off Centennial and have begun marking the locations of the track. The college recently received donations from Kiewit that include new box blades and front end loaders for its existing tractors. Kiewit also donated a brush hog to help with the construction of the track and loaned the college a John Deere 210. Foley Caterpillar out of Wichita has loaned the college a D5 bulldozer and a 420 backhoe.
"We have plenty of iron now to go out and play in the dirt," said Lindbloom. "These partners have been invaluable in helping us make this competition happen."
Other donations by Westar Energy (telephone poles) and Watco Companies (more than 400 railroad ties) have been provided to help with the construction of the 1.5-mile course, which includes numerous obstacles to test the design of the vehicles. Asplundh Tree Expert Co. has also donated truckloads of wood chips, which will be used for paths and walkways.
Lindbloom said he and automotive technology professor Bob Schroer, his co-organizer, have also met with the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce to see how the chamber and university can work together.
"They're assisting us with a lot of important things, such as food vending and exhibits that will take place during the event," he said. "There is a lot of work going on to make this thing come together over the next couple of months, and every area has an important piece of the puzzle."
For more information on the progress of the 2011 Baja SAE Kansas competition, contact Lindbloom at 620-235-4198.
©2011 Pittsburg State University