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University of Illinois Extension serving DuPage, Kane and Kendall Counties

Kane County
535 South Randall Road
St. Charles, IL 60174-1591
Phone: 630-584-6166
FAX: 630-584-4610
Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Master Gardener: M-F 10 am to 2 pm

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1100 E. Warrenville Road
Suite 170
Naperville, IL 60563
Phone: 630-955-1123
FAX: 630-955-1180
Hours: M 11am - 7pm; Tu-Fri 8:30am-4:30pm Master Gardener: Tu-W-Thu 9 am to 12 pm

Kendall County
7775-B Illinois Route 47
Yorkville, IL 60560
Phone: 630-553-5823
FAX: 630-553-5871
Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Master Gardener: M-F 9 am to 12:30 pm

News Release

Local Teams Earn Top Honors at 6th Annual Bridge Bust

YORKVILLE, Ill. – Families, community members, 4-H’ers, and school students put their engineering skills to the test in the Sixth Annual 4-H Bridge Bust Competition on Saturday, Jan. 6. A dad-and-daughter duo from Oswego claimed both overall top prizes, and teams from Carol Stream, Downers Grove, Naperville, Plano, Yorkville, Peoria and Chicago placed in various divisions.

“Each year, the Bridge Bust Competition promotes engineering, innovation, creativity, and STEM careers, as well as teamwork and sportsmanship,” said Jo Ann Britton, 4-H Youth Development Program Coordinator with University of Illinois Extension. “The goal is to provide area youth and families with a unique way to challenge their brains, work together and learn new things, all while having fun.”

In all, 24 teams completed bridges and participated in the 2018 event with 4-H Youth Development through University of Illinois Extension, and partners Rural King of Plano and Cross Lutheran School in Yorkville.

For the second year in a row, the overall award for structural efficiency went to Kendall County’s Michael and Zoe Wareman, whose bridge held 45.4 pounds of weight despite being one of the lightest bridges in the family division. The father-daughter team also took home the golden chalice award for overall aesthetics.

As part of planning for this year’s event, Zoe said she watched the video of their 2017 bridge bust in slow-motion and noticed where the bridge twisted. The team then improved on last year’s already-successful design with more support beams in the needed areas.

Zoe, an eighth grader at Thompson Junior High School, said she is excited to share her team’s strategies.

“I’ve studied and learned each year, and I don’t want to keep it secret,” said Zoe, who competed with her school in 2016 and came back in the family division in 2017 and 2018. “I would like to share my ideas and what I’ve learned with others. Sharing knowledge makes society better.”

Although the Waremans won top honors, Zoe said her favorite part is seeing the other teams’ bridges. “I see designs and things I never would have thought of. That is what makes this so cool.”

For weeks, the registered teams designed and built 24 bridges – each with the same provided materials and guidelines.

“This project really brings together many skills from start to finish,” said Britton. “It encourages organization, teamwork and communication skills, as well as skills in engineering, physics, math, design and more.”

On Jan. 6, teams competed in multiple divisions, including family, youth, elementary school, and middle school. Aesthetic scores were based on provided specifications, the quality of craftsmanship, sound structural design and originality. Structural efficiency ratings were calculated based on the weight of that bridge and the maximum weight supported by it.

In addition, a new team choice was added last year to give younger students, ages 5 to 9, the opportunity to practice engineering and design skills without competition. Three non-competitive division teams also received judges’ sheets, and had the option to break their bridges in an exposition category.

During the judging and tabulating portions of the day, participants and spectators alike had the opportunity to witness 3-D printing demonstrations with Victor Susanto, and try out 4-H National Youth Science Day activities “Wired for Wind” and “Drone Discovery” with 4-H Teen Science Ambassadors. Attendees and teams also learned about real-world projects, challenges and successes in civil engineering from 4-H alum Monica Crinion of WBK Engineering. She also is a Young Civil Engineer of the Year award winner from the American Society of Civil Engineers, Illinois Section.

 Full results of the 2018 Bridge Bust are as follows (Kendall County teams in bold):

Family Division: Aesthetics Awards: first place, the Wareman family of Oswego; second, the Ford family of DuPage County; and third, the Watson family of Downers Grove. Structural Efficiency Awards: first place, Waremans; second, the Schneider family of Plano; and third, the Devabhaktuni family of Carol Stream.


Youth Division: Aesthetics Awards: first place, Anna Cai and Emily Shao of Peoria; second, the Jacob Gugala and Jorge Rizo of Plano; and third, the Lambajian/Drummond team of Naperville. Structural Efficiency Awards: first place, the Charlie and Xander Albertson of Yorkville; second, Gugala/Rizo; third, Lambajian/Drummond.


Elementary School Division: Aesthetics Awards: first place, Grande Reserve Elementary School (Yorkville) Team No. 1; second, Grande Reserve Team No. 4; and third, Grande Reserve Team No. 3. Structural Efficiency Awards: first place, Grande Reserve Team No. 1; second, Grande Reserve Team No. 4; and third, Grande Reserve Team No. 2.


Middle School Division: Aesthetics Awards: first place, O’Neill Middle School (Downers Grove) Team No. 1; second, O’Neill Middle School Team No. 2; and third, Indigo Nation Home School (Chicago). Structural Efficiency Awards: first, O’Neill Middle School Team No. 1; second, Indigo Nation Home School; and third, O’Neill Middle School Team No. 2.

This annual event was sponsored by 4-H and University of Illinois Extension, in partnership with Rural King of Plano and the Cross Lutheran School of Yorkville. Event volunteers, judges and speakers included: Monica Crinion of WBK Engineering, Chris Erickson of Power Construction, Ted Gibbons of Desman Design Management; Dave Konop and Michelle Scott of Rural King; Bob Latzke of CBI Construction Technology; Victor Susanto; and Jeff and Austin Nakaerts of Kendall County 4-H.

“We are grateful to our partners, volunteers and guests for making this annual event a great success,” Britton said. “We look forward to the event each year, and enjoy seeing youth and community members enjoy this fun, educational opportunity.”