Imagine a stadium full of over a thousand people, pep bands, cheerleaders, and mascots cheering and screaming from 8 am until 5 pm. Teams hailed from as far east as Connecticut to the west corner of South Dakota; from the Canadian north, south to Ohio covering a stretch of almost 2000 miles during the December heat wave in Fargo, North Dakota barely missing the -30 degrees wind chill a few days earlier.
The event was called the BEST robotics competition. Each year a new game is created and teams from around the country are given 6 weeks to design a company, build a robot to perform the required tasks, and to compete locally and maybe regionally. This year's game was called BladeRunner and the theme was to create a company and robot that could overcome many wind turbine transport and construction obstacles.
From the opening ceremony, including a robot spotlight parade, to the closing trophy filled award ceremony there was the excitement of a volleyball state competition, the strategy of a chess match, the intellectual challenge of a science fair, and the pressure of a competitive sporting event.
Part of the competition included creating a company and displaying it in a booth Friday morning. SUA worked their booth, which was among 35 other creative and some quite elaborate 10 x 10 ft. tented booths decked out with computer wall displays, spotlights, costumes, mascots, and handouts. Friday continued with robot practice and a formal 20-minute presentation with Q and A from the judges on their company's structure and ability to market their robot. The SUA Robotics team was one of the 5 teams representing this area but the only team of the 5 to make it to the final rounds, earning their spot because of their robot capabilities, game strategy, and engineering notebook.
This year was the first year for SUA robotics and the team made it to Regionals. Fargo may be small but it has a nice atomic coffee shop, teaberry teashop and Asian noodle restaurant. The comradery among team members was topped with the fun of meeting other students from across the nation interested in computer programming, marketing, robotics, and engineering. Next years game is called: PayDirt. We'll have to wait until September 2015 for more information.
Congratulations to Tvisha Martin, Audrey Bodie, Beatrice Thaman, Skyler Davis, Samantha Kohli, Amanda Fairbairn, Hannah Haselhuhn, and Faculty Advisor, Mrs. Kane.