2013 Houston VEX Skills Challenge - Toss Up

We held the first Houston VEX Skills Challenge today at St. Agnes Academy in Houston, Texas.

We had a Houston league last year and we found that the first day of the league many of the teams weren’t ready to compete on the first day. However, they all benefited from being in the same room working together on the robots. We wanted to get the same benefit for the teams even though we stopped doing a league. That is why we decided to a skills only event early in the season. That way teams have real fields setup for practice and official skills scores early in the season.

This event also took the place of our local kickoff, some of the schools that get started later in the year were able to come to this event and see the game and ask questions before they really get in to their build season.

I’ve uploaded some of the photos from the event and we should have video and more pictures in the near future.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/spectrum3847/sets/72157635991552023

The skills results can be found here.
http://www.robotevents.com/houston-vex-skills-toss-up.html

Congratulations to the award winners
Excellence Award and Robot Skills Winner
4252A - Pastoral Invasion

Programming Skills Winner
4128A - Awty International School

Design Award
2158Z - ausTIN CANs

Great job everyone! I know Gabe and Shane kept nipping at the heels of an excellence award last year and came up with 5 design awards which is an admirable feat. Now they can complete their trophy asortment. I think Texas is going to be a tough place to compete this year.

So far , I’m a big fan of a Skills-only event to kickoff the season.
We will definitely continue this model in the future.

**Benefits: **

  1. Great way to train volunteers without the high pressure of match schedules
  2. Teams have more time to help each other.
  3. The teams aiming for the top scores can focus on getting peak performance out of their robot
  4. Teams don’t have to worry about defensive robots breaking their newly minted machine
  5. Teams will spend more time programming early in the season (prog. skills)

**Downsides **

  1. Teams don’t get as much match experience
  2. Volunteers aren’t training under real matches
  3. No playoffs :frowning:

I think other regions should try the Skills-only kickoff event as well !

I would love to see some events like this up North. Maybe with the new teams that the TWC grant is producing we will have some next year.

It’s also nice the venues don’t need to be as big as they are for full tournaments. This took place in a school cafeteria. We only needed two fields instead of the normal three (one for practice).

It requires less staff since we don’t have to queue teams, didn’t have a full time MC, and needed far fewer judges.

I really liked this event and Houston will be expanding this model in the future assuming most other things stay the same.

What is the highest score of Skill challenge?

58 for robot skills and 23 for programming skills.

Pictures are up from this event,
http://houston.vexevents.org/node/13

Here is a short video of the skills challenge from Sept 28th,
[

These scores have not been included in global skills yet. I’ve been working with RECF and they are trying to clear the technical hurdles of uploading these scores.

](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhn7L7UnG0o)