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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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Hempstad High School teacher Larry Hoelscher and the members of the team.

EXPERIMENTAL AUTOMOBILE RACING. In 1997 students at STEPHEN HEMPSTEAD HIGH SCHOOL with their vehicle "The Predator" were the first locally to qualify for the national Electrathon, a race designed to test the speed and efficiency of student-built, battery-operated vehicles. The team members were students of Larry HOELSCHER in his engineering concepts class. Students involved included Steve Woedehoff, Jeff Kinderman, Jason Hubanks, Tim Tripple, Erich Deutsch, Sean Heber, Mark Williams, and Randy Ritt. (1)

The Center for Energy and Environmental Education in Cedar Falls along with the Iowa Renewable Energy Association (I-Renew) led the efforts to bring the Electrathon to Iowa. They began by encouraging schools to consider the concept of using electric car development as a teaching tool. Through workshops and newsletters, the two organizations were able to recruit twelve schools that showed interest in participating. Goals of the program were to teach students how to build a car, environmental awareness, how to generate publicity, keep records and accounting, and long-term project planning. Hempstead students appeared on local radio and television programs and established information on a Web site. They raised nearly $3,000 from sponsors, designed and built the car, and then refined it so that it could race. (2)

On May 17, 1997 six Iowa cars and two from Michigan competed in the first annual Iowa Electrathon Race at Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids. Four cars battled for the lead. The Hempstead car finished 59 laps averaging 27.7 miles per hour on the .47 mile oval track. The second place car from Cedar Rapids Prairie completed 53 laps with 24.9 miles per hour. (3)



1. Krapfl, Mike. "Electric Cars Plug Students into Teamwork," Telegraph Herald, May 16, 1997, p. 3A. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=aEyKTaVlRPYC&dat=19970516&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

2. Ibid.

3. "Predator Wins Electrathon," Telegraph Herald, May 18, 1997, p. 4A. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=aEyKTaVlRPYC&dat=19970518&printsec=frontpage&hl=en