ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Two products, made in Rockford and Machesney Park, are on a shortlist of considerations for this year’s statewide “Coolest Thing Made in Illinois” contest.

Last year, Rivian’s all-electric R1T pickup truck took the honor.

This year, telescopes made by Astro Physics, at 11250 Forest Hills Road, are competing against 17th Street Barbeque, from Murphysboro, in a bracket-style “Maker’s Madness” challenge.

The contest highlights manufacturing within the state.

Astro Physics business administrator Karen Christen says she still doesn’t know how her company got in the running.

“We were shocked to get into the top 16 and are really surprised to get into the top 8,” she said. “We make the finest optics available to astronomers in the entire world.”

Ingersoll Machine Tools in Rockford is up for its Rosenberg Moon Habitat, going against a 32-gallon trash can and lid from Arcola’s The Libman Company.

“We make a lot of cool things here at Ingersoll,” said CEO Dr. Jeffrey Ahrstrom. “The project we submitted, one of the world’s largest 3D printers, is exceptionally amazing and the fact that we were able to partner with the Rosenberg institute and put forth the current design for the first lunar habitat.”

Both Ahrstrom and Christen believe Rockford-area residents would be surprised at some of the things that are made in the local area, and encourage others to consider a career in the manufacturing industry.

“I’m happy that Ingersoll is going forward but there is some tough competition out here in Rockford,” Ahrstrom said. “We have so many amazing manufacturers in the region, big things like we do, but also smaller things.”

You can vote for the Coolest Thing Made in Illinois here.