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FORT COLLINS — Middle school students from around Northern Colorado will have to wait until 2021 to race their solar and battery-power model cars. Both the NoCo Time Trials event, sponsored by Platte River Power Authority, and the state finals have been canceled this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The regional event had been scheduled for May 2, and the state event was supposed to be May 16.

“This was a difficult decision but the health and safety of our staff and race participants is our highest priority,” Steve Roalstad, Platte River spokesperson, said in a written announcement. “We look forward to hosting the NoCo Time Trials in 2021 and in the future.”

A total of 14 middle schools from Platte River’s owner communities — Fort Collins, Loveland, Longmont and Estes Park — planned to send teams to race solar and battery-powered model cars in the regional event. Despite the cancellation, Platte River said it remains committed to providing STEM opportunities for middle school students and will present grants to schools that planned to participate.

“We hope these grants and future NoCo Time Trials events will be used to help inspire students to pursue careers in the energy industry,” said Roalstad.

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