Path Home Shows 2010 Show Archive November 2010 Show 1047 Engineer Float

Engineer Float

School spirit was quite abundant at this year's Oklahoma State University Homecoming Parade, but for one Stillwater family, building a float had another purpose as engineering education became a family affair.
Engineer Float

Engineer Float

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Orange Connection -- 2010 OSU Homecoming Parade

Show Dates

Show 1047: OSU Engineer Float

Air date: November 21, 2010



Rob McClendon:  Well at this year’s Oklahoma State University homecoming parade, engineering education was a family affair.  Joining me now to explain why is our Courtenay DeHoff.

Courtenay DeHoff:  Well school spirit was quite abundant at this year’s homecoming parade at OSU, but for one Stillwater family building a float had another purpose.

[music by marching band]

An Oklahoma State University parade is a family favorite in Stillwater, Oklahoma; and, the Baird family is truly making it, a family affair.

Emily Baird:  Because I don’t think there’s anybody I know that’s, you know, ever built a parade float like this; it’s usually paper mache and glitter, you know, stuff like that.

Courtenay:  For more than six months Emily Baird and her father planned, then built, the Ride ‘em Cowboy float, complete with bucking mechanics and lots of Cowboy Pride.

Parade Announcer:  Emily Baird and friends and family are back this year with their old buddy, Pistol Pete.  Once again, Emily breaks out the Pistol Pete cup, and America’s favorite Cowboy, through America’s greatest homecoming parade.

Emily:  I mean, on parade day I drive the go-cart, but I do some of the smaller, more time-consuming jobs like painting and setting things up while they’re doing the mechanics and the pneumatics, and when they’re doing stuff that actually makes it go, I’m doing the details.

Courtenay:  Details that Emily and her father, HL, have been tweaking and tuning for months to get ready.

HL Baird:  The ideas came back in March or April, and we thought that they’re gonna, that Cowboy Nation was their deal and we saw their logo was the United States, and so we thought we’d get ambitious and have him ride the nation.  And then that started Jim and I talking back and forth, and Jim is the electronics guy and I’m the mechanic guy; he does electronic, electrical engineering and electronics and I do blacksmith engineering with, you know, rebar and what not.  So, we just started hashing it out, wouldn’t it be cool, wouldn’t it be cool, we got together and actually had meetings and got ideas and so, this is what we came up with.

Courtenay:  And not only did the float have spirit, but HL wanted to instill a spirit for engineering within his daughter.

Baird:  Really what we want to do with Emily is get her to see, some of the systems integration and kind of the engineering and the science and all that.  We tried to explain this early on and since she couldn’t see it, she couldn’t conceive it.  So actually most of the learning is actually occurring right now when we’re, we’re taking the systems, and we say okay this, this is the actuator, these are the pressures, and this is what happens; now, we’re going to adjust this, we’re going to time this differently.  And so to this point, she’d been mostly creative; she’s helped with the painting, she’s helped with creating some of the artistic effects, she, she did most of the, the painting and stuff on Herby’s head.  So, she’s been involved, but the, the true goal of getting her to see the science and the technology, engineering, and math that’s involved in it, that part’s just now starting to go, and it’s pretty rewarding.

Courtenay:  Rewarding, for father and daughter.

Emily:  I do see myself ahead of people that just do, stand there waving on the float; whereas I’m driving, and I’m helping actually build it.  It takes the boring out of everyday life, cause I mean, we come home, we eat, we just do our homework and stuff.  And, it gives me something to do with my dad, because we’re so busy, and it gives us something to do on the weekends and something to just make it less boring and I get to spend time with him.

Courtenay:  Time well spent for Emily and her dad; and, a fan favorite among the Cowboy Nation.

Parade Announcer:  And that is a really great float and I think that’s just a family that does that, yea and you can hear the music now.

Rob:  Well it certainly sounds like their float was a fan favorite.

Courtenay:  Definitely Rob, they won third place in what has been billed the largest homecoming celebration in the nation; but, I think both father and daughter agree that even that honor, was second to the time that they got to spend together.

Rob:  Well thank you Courtenay, neat story.