Gordon Moore wins Vineyard hIgh school’s Linguini Bridge Contest

Gordon Moore, right, with help from his friend Austin Morley, carefully lowered the 45-pound weight that put his linguini bridge into first place. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

The aptly named “Awesome Bridge” freshman Gordon Moore built lived up to its name. The bridge made of 342 grams of dried pasta stood firm under 1,500 pounds of weights to win the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) 2012 Linguini Bridge Contest held Monday morning.

Gordon said he spent about 50 hours working on his pasta creation, with help from his dad, artist Andrew Moore. His bridge was the last of 10 tested in the final round.

Up until then, Patrick McCarthy and Toron DeLuz held the top slot with their bridge, “TC Dad’s Bridge Two,” which weighed 283 grams and held 1,125 pounds of weight. The two sophomores came in second, and also topped their performance last year with a bridge that held 540 pounds.

Mathematics and technology teacher Ken DeBettencourt has organized and run the contest, open to all students, for 15 years. The rules are simple: bridges must be constructed using only Prince-brand linguini held together with regular Elmer’s glue, weigh less than one pound, and be able to support a minimum of 25 pounds. Contestants are allowed to get help from parents or other knowledgeable sources.

Bridges were due last Friday, March 23. Of 41 entries, 30 bridges qualified after Mr. DeBettencourt and some volunteer judges weighed and tested them over the weekend.

The bridges’ ultimate stress test began at 7:45 am Monday, March 26, in the MVRHS Performing Arts Center. Circular 25-pound barbell weights were balanced on a lightweight block of wood placed on top of the bridges in rounds one through three. Elimination rounds using 200 pounds of weight or less took place on a table.

In the final round, it was “go for broke,” with bridges placed on the floor and weights added to a maximum of 1,500 pounds, for safety reasons.

Since Gordon’s bridge survived intact, Mr. DeBettencourt agreed to his request to continue the weight-bearing test outdoors later this week, to see how much more weight it might bear.