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Beloit Team Spotlight | Rock River Dinners

Meet the Rock River Dinners, representing Beloit, WI at Nationals! Eric Seo, Sydney Felhofer, Joshua Laue and Aleksander Mytko are students who met at Beloit College. Even though they’re from different parts of the country, they’ll be representing their current hometown at Make48.



Dr. Kristi Cole, Kerry Frank and Brian Morello with Rock River Dinner


Beloit’s challenge was “Winter Outdoor Activities.” The eight teams did a phenomenal job with their prototypes. Teams had to create a toy or game that could be played outside during the cold Wisconsin months, at temperatures of under freezing, and could be played with or without snow. Other criteria included consumer experience (easy to use with limited instructions), price point (minimum of $29.99) and manufacturing costs, just to name a few.


48 hours later, Aleksander, Eric, Joshua and Sydney created the X-BARRAGE. The unique game can be played alone or in teams, with the goal being to make and throw a snowball at a target. Get the snowball to hit the target, and the target moves down the line. You can also play alone to practice your aim and strength. Or play X-BARRAGE as a race. Opponents stand at opposite ends and hit their target with snowballs. The first team or person to get their target to the end wins!



Pitching X-BARRAGE to the judges


Judges Brian Klesius (Fairbanks Morse Defense), Elizabeth Wanzer (Blain's Farm & Fleet) and Jason Erickson (PlayMonster) chose the winners for the competition. After an hour deliberation, Rock River Dinners won $2,000, a custom-made trophy and will be moving on to the next round, proudly representing Beloit at the National competition later this month.


We asked Rock River Dinners a few questions and fun facts about their team.


What’s a fun fact about each member of your team?

Aleksander: Has competed in competitive archery tournaments, including competing at the national level.

Sydney: Is a very competent singer, with an especially talented voice for opera.

Josh: Used to be a tour guide for the St. Louis Arch.

Eric: Started a chocolatiering business and was trained by a 2-Michelin starred head pastry chef.


How did your team meet?

We all met through our shared meals. Once a week, our friend group meets for a shared meal, where one person cooks for the rest of the group. We have made everything from Ukrainian style-borscht to whole peking-style roast duck to paella to wagyu and tuna poke bowls. These meals have been the foundation of our group and continue to bring us together.


Further, the name Rock River Dinners comes from our love of meals in close proximity to the Rock River. Indeed, we even have a tradition where we throw large rocks into our namesake river off a bridge. Other activities of our friend group include going to movies, having chaotic visits to thrift stores, exploring the weekly farmer's market, going on walks late at night, and getting ice cream when our Californian members think it's far too cold for it.


At Nationals, what’s one thing you want to do, or see, at the Kansas City Competition?

One thing we want to do in Kansas City is try the famous barbeque; we are named after dinner, after all.



For the first time, teams have a chance this year to win the Spirit Stick Award. The winners will receive a KC gift bundle and CEO, Tom Gray will take the team out to dinner (in their city). Where do you think the team will choose?

Going more off of that, if we won the spirit award, we would want Tom to lead his very own Rock River Dinner, treating us to a nice meal.



What was your favorite snack at the M48 Event?

All of our favorite snacks at the previous M48 event were the popcorn balls. We even dressed one up as a snowball to use during our pitch to the judges.



What’s The Biggest Strength On Your Team?

The biggest strength on our team is our compatibility. Given that we are all very close friends, we know how to work together in order to accomplish a task. Everything from understanding each other's senses of humor to believing in one another's strengths fall into this.


One thing that we hope to carry into the national competition is trust. One of the largest obstacles for us in the regional competition was trusting in each other's abilities and ideas. After about the first 24 or so hours, we finally began to trust each other and it made the whole process so much easier. In the beginning, we tried to fully understand one person's idea before giving them the go-ahead to start on it; conversely, in the end of the competition, we simply trusted our teammates to follow through with an effective plan, with or without understanding what it was.



Amy Gray, Joshua, Aleksander, Sydney, Eric and Tom Gray

Good luck to the Rock River Dinners! To learn more about Beloit College follow them at Instagram and on Facebook.


Make48 will be returning to Beloit this summer. To learn about sponsorship opportunities, please email Wisconsin Ambassador Katie Cappozzo at katie@make48.com



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