Ride Engineering Competition

The only physical hands-on Engineering Competition in the Attractions Industry!

Gain skills in:
Project Management
Hands-on Manufacturing
Budget Management
Mechanical Design
Design Analysis
Electrical Control Systems Design
Risk Assessment and Mitigation
Engineering Standards Familiarity and Application
Reliable Design
Serviceable Design
Public Speaking

The Ride Engineering Competition, hosted by Iowa State University, offers students a chance to demonstrate real-world engineering practices within the industry focus of ride engineering and design. Student teams will have 6 months to design, plan, and manufacture an attraction for 1:50 scale riders based on a prompt that includes a plot of land and desired rider experience.

Teams will receive points for three major deliverables:
Systems Engineering Report that details the engineering decisions and actions throughout the project,
Functional Physical Model of the attraction,
and a team score for Final Presentation and Outreach.
Teams may also receive large point deductions for the relative cost of their ride compared to their competition.

The Competition culminates in an in-person event featuring an 8-hour window in which all Ride Models must run continuously. During this time Teams will Service their rides whenever needed. Judges will award points based on the implementation of the ride and the team’s service preparedness, and teams will present their Ride and Engineering Process in a presentation.

2022 Competition Timeline

Official Kickoff, Prompt Announcement, Distribution of Rules and ResourcesOctober 22nd, 2021
Registration ClosesDecember 3rd, 2021
Competition Event Details releaseFebruary 7th, 2022
Systems Engineering Report DueApril 2nd, 2022
Competition EventApril 9th, 2022

Team Eligibility Requirements

  • Eligible Competitors: Higher education students enrolled Oct. 2021 – Apr. 2022
  • Team Members: 2+ per team (4-10 recommended)
  • Majors: This is a multidisciplinary competition. Having team members from multiple fields of study, especially Mechanical Engineering AND Electrical/Controls Engineering is strongly advised.
  • Teams must consist of a minimum of two higher education students and one advisor. 
  • The advisor must be faculty or staff of an academic institution that represents at least one of the team members (in case of members from multiple institutions) If you are a student organization, you most likely have an advisor already.
  • The required involvement of the advisor is to be a contact and liaison to the academic institution. Advisors are encouraged to mentor the teams but may not significantly contribute to the design or fabrication of competition entries.
  • All student members must be actively enrolled in a higher education program during the competition period. (Oct. 2021 – Apr. 2022)
  • Graduate Students and Students on Co-op as part of their degree program may participate.
  • There is no maximum student member limit on a single team.
  • Teams may consist of members from multiple institutions.
  • One institution may have multiple teams.
  • Advisors may advise more than one team.
  • Teams may not not work in direct collaboration with other teams, however all are encouraged to practice “cooperitition” by communicating and assisting the community of teams with specific issues for the improvement of all teams. Teams at the same institution must work independently.
  • For any questions about team formation or conduct contact the coordinators.

Our 2021 Teams:


TPEG OSU, The Ohio State University

Coaster Cats, TEA@UC, University of Cincinnati

RIT Theme Park Enthusiasts, Rochester Institute of Technology – 1st Place

Hokies, Theme Park Engineering and Design, Virginia Tech – 2nd Place

Reiter Riders, University of Michigan, Purdue – 3rd Place

TEA@ND, University of Notre Dame


UB TPEC, University of Buffalo

UNL Theme Park Design Group, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

CAPED, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo – 2nd Place

Steel Dreams, TEA at UCSD, University of California, San Diego – 1st Place