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March 15, 2004

Purdue's Bug Bowl abuzz with insect fun, facts

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The approach of spring means many things, but at Purdue University's annual Bug Bowl on April 17-18, the buzz is all about insects.

2003 Bug Bowl
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Bowl events include cricket spitting, cockroach racing, an insect petting zoo and other activities. Bug Bowl is part of Spring Fest, an event sponsored by the Purdue schools of Agriculture, Veterinary Medicine, Consumer and Family Sciences, Engineering, Science, Liberal Arts, and Education. These schools combine to offer nearly 100 different events, activities, demonstrations and seminars.

An activities schedule and parking information for Spring Fest is available online. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 17, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 18.

At this year's Bug Bowl, a revamped competition promises to help people find their "inner bug," said Tom Turpin, a Purdue entomology professor and event co-founder.

"The Bug Bowl Hexathlon will have contestants rolling a simulated dung ball and racing around a course as eggs, larvae, pupae and adults," he said.

Hexathlon events include cricket spitting, the caterpillar canter, the maggot wiggle, the metamorphosis meander, the dung beetle ball roll and the mealworm chomp. It is a team event, Turpin said, and each team must have six members and fit into either the junior or senior division. Juniors are ages 14 and under. There are three categories in each division - men's, women's and mixed. Registration for the event will be accepted both days of Bug Bowl at the main entomology tent on the front lawn of the Ag Administration Building.

Returning for a second appearance at Bug Bowl is Einstein vs. the Bug, a comical education program that pits physics against insects.

"In Einstein vs. the Bug, we do things like see which is stronger, a Madagascar cockroach or an electrical field," Turpin said.

The hexathlon and Einstein vs. the Bug aren't the only things to do at Bug Bowl. Other things to see include an extensive insect collection, a honey bee house, a microscopic view of insects and a simulated Egyptian tomb that focuses on scarab beetles.

"The standard event is the cockroach racing," Turpin said. "If you've never seen it before you really have to see one of those races."

Additional Bug Bowl information is available.

With such a multitude of things to see and do at Bug Bowl alone, Turpin said it's important people to come to Spring Fest with a plan.

"You need to decide what it is you want to see and make a plan to get those things done," he said. "There are things you can watch and things you can do, you just have to decide what it is you want."

Danica Kirkpatrick, School of Agriculture events coordinator, said this year's Spring Fest features old favorites like Bug Bowl, the Boiler Barnyard, Boiler Brick Bowl and the 91st Annual Horticulture Show, as well as some lesser-known activities.

"In this exciting weekend, you can climb a tree like a professional, ride a pedal tractor through an obstacle course and design, build and launch your own mini-rocket," she said. "It's a chance for the public to see the best of Purdue all at once."

Writer: Kay Hagen, (765) 494-6682,

Sources: Tom Turpin, (765) 494-4568,

Danica Kirkpatrick, (765) 494-9113,

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722; Beth Forbes,
Agriculture News Page

Related release:
Purdue unites fun, family and agriculture at Spring Fest

Kaarin Herendeen, 3, of Ft. Wayne, Ind., had a close encounter with a hornworm during Purdue University's 2003 Bug Bowl. The event was one of many activities that takes place during the university's annual Spring Fest on the West Lafayette, Ind., campus. (Purdue News Service file photo/Dave Umberger)

A publication-quality photo is available at

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