March 12, 2014 - Brakes are designed to stop cars and trucks, but they don't even slow down Oxford High School's agile auto students.
OHS brake competition winners included (from left) Jake Reed and Sommer Desotell in first place, Louie Urban and Anson Rowley in second place, and Tyler Oke and Cody Blanchard in third place. Photos by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
Thirty-two future mechanics participated in the automotive program's annual brake competition held March 11.
"It's the largest brake competition that I've run so far," said OHS Auto Instructor Dan Balsley. "It was also one of the nicest and smoothest."
Two-person teams went head-to-head to see who could completely disassemble and reassemble a drum brake assembly on two different vehicles in the least amount of time.
All of the work had to be done as quickly and accurately as possible. Errors in craftsmanship can disqualify a team's time.
Teams could be timed as many times as they wished during the competition.
Earning first place in this year's competition were Jake Reed and Sommer Desotell. They won with a combined time of 5 minutes, 50 seconds.
Louie Urban and Anson Rowley finished in second place with a combined time of 5 minutes, 52 seconds.
In third place, with a combined time of 6 minutes, 45 seconds, were Cody Blanchard and Tyler Oke.
These six students earned an array of prizes including brand new tool boxes and tool sets, gift certificates and hats.
Sponsors included the Rotary Club of Oxford, Steve's Oxford Automotive, Wright Tool, Tom's Hardware, Tractor Supply Co., Justin Beltramo and the Oxford McDonald's restaurant.
Balsley started the brake competition years ago as a fun, motivational tool.
"The students didn't really want to do brakes," he explained. "They're dirty and complicated. It was easier not to do them. I needed to find a way to encourage them to practice brakes and get good at them.
"Gradually, the spirit of the competition pushed this along to the point where I've made it a big event now."
Following the competition, the students enjoyed pop and snacks, and they each received a coupon for a free McDonald's sandwich.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.