Oklahoma schoolteacher falls short of million-dollar prize

An Oklahoma schoolteacher gave it his best shot, but fell just short of winning a $1 million prize for using his mind and creativity.


Rick DeRennaux, who teaches special education students at Bethany High School, made the finalists’ stage of the ABC program “American Inventor.” He was among three finalists; however, DeRennaux was the first to bow out in the final competition last week. Winners were determined by the show’s audience members nationwide, who called in to vote.


DeRennaux’s invention, Custom Build Racers, gives kids the ability to create their own remote-control vehicle. The invention was a kit youngsters 13 and up could use to design and build remote-control vehicles. DeRennaux said it was for entertainment and educational purposes.


While the Bethany schoolteacher and Moore resident didn’t garner the top prize, he shouldn’t feel too bad about the contest.


The winner was Greg Chavez, a firefighter from Camarillo, Calif. Chavez invented the Guardian Angel, which would help stop and alert people to fires started in Christmas trees. The invention includes a water tank that looks like a small package, which would be placed under the tree and is attached to a hose running up the tree to an angel topper. Should a fire start, the heat pops a link at the top, which is attached to the hose, letting water douse the fire. An alarm would go off, as well.


However, DeRennaux may still reap something for his effort. A Canadian company has invited the Oklahoma inventor up north to work with him on the product.


The dream is still alive.

Gazette staff

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