UPDATE: New Auburn students win national Rube Goldberg contest - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: New Auburn students win national Rube Goldberg contest

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ctsy: STEM Forward ctsy: STEM Forward

New Auburn (WQOW) - Congratulations to New Auburn High School, the 2014 winners in the National Rube Goldberg Machine Contest!

The championship event was held in Milwaukee over the weekend.  The New Auburn High School machine, "Franken Butts," was awarded the top prize!

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Menomonie (WQOW) - High school students from across Wisconsin gathered in Menomonie Tuesday with a simple goal; turn a basic zipper into a complex machine. The Rube Goldberg contest was held at UW-Stout Tuesday afternoon.

With so much going on, it's no surprise to see crowds gathered around such contraptions.

"We have 46 steps? Yea, it's a lot," said Dru Galetka, New Auburn High School Senior.

The Rube Goldberg contest, named for a cartoonist famous for spoofing modern machines, had high school students using anything they could get their hands on.

"We had automotive valves, we had cue balls that we painted like eye balls to roll down tracks. We had big syringes, we use those as pumps. A lot of Halloween decorations like those skulls dropping," Galetka explained.

The goal was to zip a zipper without things falling off track.

"If one thing goes wrong right in the beginning and you can't trigger it right away? It's kind of kaput," said Nick Hollister of Elk Mound.

Incorporating a basic zipper into a full scale zombie lab isn't easy, and it definitely doesn't happen overnight.

"It was before Christmas we started. It was almost every Saturday, you take off of work, you come in. I think we figured it out, it was like four or five hundred man hours. It's unbelievable yeah, but it's a lot of work," Galetka added.

That work is apparently much easier this time around.

"Couple of years ago it was changing out flashlight batteries. And you actually had to unscrew the flashlight, dump it out, and then put new batteries in. And then turn on the flashlight. I mean I'm thankful that this year it was just zipping up a zipper," said Hollister.

First place in the competition went to New Auburn, with Bayfield finishing second and Antigo taking third. New Auburn's team will now travel to the national championship in April.

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