Cubers come to Ames to compete


Chris Anderson/Iowa State Daily

Cubers compete at Iowa State Spring 2017 Rubix Cube tournament.

Chris Anderson

Cubers from across the Midwest came to Ames to compete in the Iowa State Spring 2017 Rubik’s Cube Tournament on Saturday.

Among those organizing the event was Joshua Beck, sophomore in mechanical engineering.

Beck is no newcomer to the world of Rubik’s Cubes. He currently holds the Iowa State record for solving a standard 3×3 cube at just 8.4 seconds.

“The world record is 4.73, so I’m a little bit away from that,” Beck said.

Beck said the event would not have been able to happen without the help of CubingUSA, the U.S. branch of the World Cube Association.

Beck and other organizers were also able to provide prizes for winners in each event. First-, second- and third-place winners received gift cards to CubeDepot, a sponsor of the event.

The crowd at the Iowa State spring 2017 competition was full of competitors of all ages. Beck shared that 98 competitors participated in the event and that ages generally ranged from 12 to 20, although many older and younger people competed.

Beck originally got into the sport by being exposed to it from YouTube and by going to other competitions he found online.

“There’s a lot of Rubik’s Cube content on YouTube. You learn how to solve it and you learn a lot of the advanced tricks on YouTube,” Beck said.

The competition in Ames had seven different Rubik’s Cube solving events, including 4×4, 6×6, 7×7, and the standard 3×3 cube including competitions for one handed and blindfolded.

Beck justified the enthusiastic turnout by noting that this was the first competition hosted in Iowa in the past two years. He said he hopes to make this an annual event or at least something he can organize again.

There is a large amount of organizing that goes into hosting an official Rubik’s Cube competition. In addition to securing a venue, getting the equipment, and advertising, A delegate from the World Cube Association is needed to make the event official.

Walker Welch, a delegate with the World Cube association, was the one at the event responsible for making the event official and posting results online.

Welch traveled all the way from Minnesota for the event to oversee and input results.

What drove Welch to travel that distance for this event was the community of speed cubers.

“One of the best things about speed cubing in my mind is that when somebody else gets a good time you’re really happy for them because they’re competing against themselves,” Welch said. 

Welch shared that the internet has really been a positive force bringing the cubing community together.

“People in communities like South Dakota, or Nebraska, or Iowa are becoming a lot more involved in the sport because of being connected online,” Welch said.

Another organizer at the event was Kristin Wiley, a school teacher from Nebraska.

Wiley was introduced to the sport by a student of hers who took up Rubik’s Cubing. Wiley says she, and parents, see many benefits in their kids’ lives when they take up cubing.

“Parents come to me saying their child had so much more focus then they had before,” Wiley said. “Saying their kid was all over the place now they’re so much more focused.”

The best thing about the sport Wiley sees, however, is the inclusivity and community behind it.

“The cool thing is with the community is it doesn’t matter what you wear, what you look like, your gender, it’s all about the cube and that’s the best part,” Wiley said.