MD, No.VA and So.PA teams- Oct 31 Tournament Too Early?

While this question is mainly directed towards teams in the Maryland, Southern PA, and Northern VA area, I welcome input from anyone.

Given that the game is already released, we are considering moving our Northwest Maryland VRC event from February/March 2010 to this fall (2009). The facility we use has an opening on Oct 31. Is this too early for teams, in particular those that will not start work until school resumes in the fall, to be ready for a competition?

I am a little concerned about scheduling something too early, but on the other hand, it would be nice to have an event earlier in the season. Moving to the fall will also lighten the January-March work/event load on the many FRC teams in our area that also participate in VRC.


We had the same thought, so – with IFI’s blessing – we are running an early-season event the first week of November, and another one at the end of February. The November event is the “Redmond Jump Start” tournament, and our February tournament is the Washington VRC Championship. Both will be qualifying tournaments for the Clean Sweep season.

Once you’ve figured out how to run an event, running the second one isn’t that tough. Good luck!

Our first planned event is a free scrimmage on December 5 at Penn State Abington. We will be running the Eastern PA Regionals on 27 February.

I’d love to see the VEX calendar change so that the Worlds are the first week in December (*) and it pulls us away from the FIRST calendar and some problems around the PA school testing calendar.

Presently we are building Face Off robots for the June 20 event Predator vs Alien (FTC and VEX robots head to head playing both games) and August 22 "Dr. Jekel and Mr. Hyde (a robot plays both games without modification). Summer interest is a little spotty here.

We will then start our build cycle for the new game in September. It would be a push, but we might have something for the Halloween Havoc.


(*) December is the start of summer in NZ, even a better reason to hold championships there!

I think that it is good to have tournaments spread throughout the year to give teams the chance to find flaws in their designs and to rebuild their robots, if they decide that it would benefit them, and than to test out their robot at a later tournament.

Tempest N’ Tampa is in late October, but my team was ready for that tournament, although some of the teams there looked like they would have benefited from some more trouble shooting and practice.

I also really like the long Vex season, which gives teams the change to redesign and rebuild their robots based on what types of teams where successful at the earlier competitions. 254f build 5 different robots over the last season and 254a build 4 different robots, each incorporating the strengths of the last robots and eliminating most of the weaknesses.

Early tournaments are great for veteran teams, where each season is just a continuation of the last. They’re a “deer in the headlights” experience for rookie teams who are just de-shrink-wrapping their kits in September.

I do like the idea of an earlier end to the season (I felt a bit disloyal this season half-hoping that we didn’t advance to Worlds :(). Isn’t there anyone else out there that knows the meaning of off-season?

It looks like Bellarmine will host its tournament on the 31st as well, so please permit me if I hijack this thread and add Northern California teams to that list :).