Sack Attack at the Dover Air Force Base!

Delaware State VEX Championship 2012

6 October 2012 – 0900 (9AM) to 1700 (5PM)

Dover Air Force Base – 436th Airlift Wing / 314 Recruiting Squadron

We are being invited to Dover Air Force base, home of the 436th Airlift Wing. Their mission reads, Deliver!, a great tie in to Sack Attack.

Also on hand will be the 314 Recruiting Squadron showing off Air Force technology that makes a career in the Air Force one of the most sought after technology jobs.

Opening ceremony is at 0900 (9AM) and final awards presentations at 1600 (4PM).

There will be food and beverages available for sale.

This is active Air Force Base, so you must register your team by September 30. Registration is at If you just want to come see the action as a spectator, send an email with your name to events at to get on the visitors list. You MUST either be on a registered team or send your name in, or you WILL NOT get on the base.

You will be given directions where to go on base once you are registered.
For more event info, see or contact Steve.Rhoads - If you are interested in finding out more about VEX Competition robotics and how you can start your own team, contact Foster.Schucker at

Come see the future engineers, scientists and future Airmen at this competition!

STEMRobotics and the Delaware State VEX Championship is a non-federal entity. It is not a part of the Department of Defense or any of its components and it has no governmental status. They are not an official representative of the United States Air Force, Dover AFB or the 314th Recruiting Squadron. STEMRobotics is a 501 ( c ) (3) non-profit organization bringing competition robotics to the Philadelphia Region.

Just a reminder that you have two more weeks to register for this free event!

First ever Delaware Championship!

First ever robotics competition at Dover Air Force Base!!

First VEX competition at an active Air Force Base.

We’ll have planes, food, planes, fun, planes and of course VEX robots.

We are down to the last week of registering for the 1st Delaware State VEX Championship. If you are coming, get signed up.

We have teams from Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey signed up, so there is room for a few more states (Looking at you New York and Connecticut. You too New Hampshire, if Brad can drive here you can too! Car Pool!)

This looks like an absolutely awesome opportunity.

It is! And it’s free!!! And you are only 2 hours away!!!

And you have a chance to view the sunrise over the Eastern Shore from atop the Bay Bridge on your way to the event.

How can you pass that up?

We are trying to get our team registered in robotevents. But we are interested in coming.

Now to actually finish the robot…

I didn’t see it on robotevents. how might we register?

It’s there for 10/6/12…

Last 36 hours to go. We have 45+ team on their way.

Just a reminder, if you want to watch (and you know you want to do that!) I need to have you on the VIP list. Names please by noon Sunday!

Team 357 will be there with two robots. Looking forward to seeing the first event of our region! Watch for a final build blog post soon.

Spent from 1400-1600 (sorry 2PM - 4PM) setting up fields, seating, stage, pits, food area, building awards, taping cables, etc. 6 fields, 2 sets of portable seating, a stage, an entire kitchen, seating for 43 teams, seating for 300 people to eat and four judges tables that just don’t make a dent in a C5 airplane Hanger. But the bomb disposal unit robots, the Air Force Recruiting Squadron demos and the biggest snow blower (built on a cement truck frame) in Delaware do help some to fill the space. But the best part is they rolled back the main doors and there are three C5’s parked outside on display!

Look for pictures on the forum soon.

The 436th Airlift wing said their mission statement was “Deliver!” and they have. We had 20+ airmen (and airwomen, but they like to be called airmen) at work all afternoon. Ask to have a task done and it’s “Yes Sir” and they are off. Keebler elves, you are on notice!

The Air Force rocks!

We are excited and ready to go. Can’t wait until the base opens at “O dark Hundred” on Saturday.

And I can’t wait to post the Q&A question “If a sack is knocked off the high goal by jetwash from a Globemaster, do we count the point or play the match over”

VEX in a C5 hanger? Pretty epic! :smiley:
Hope you guys have an awesome tournament tomorrow.

Spent the day helping Foster. Going to be an amazing event. More pictures tomorrow!

View from practice fields

We need a bigger event!

Stage setup with a little help from our friends

Here is a bonus photo of former KTOR member Adaman our head judge for the event. He hasn’t taken those pants off since Worlds!

:open_mouth: That’s the view from one of the practice fields? Nice…

In NZ we don’t actually have any big planes in our Air Force… Our biggest are Boeing 757’s, which we only have a few of. Occasionally we will have a Globemaster fly over here from either America or Australia, but that’s only occasionally. The Americans do have a Globemaster based in Christchurch though for trips to Antarctica.

Anyways, you are so lucky to have that as your view… And there are SO MANY!

I look forward to seeing how the event goes - the best of luck to all the teams competing! :slight_smile:


Wish you were here!


Judged Awards

As a change, we are going to publish what the judges wrote about each award winner, rather than just posting the names. I want to say thank you to Andrew Adaman the volunteers and the airmen of the 436th Airlift Wing, also known as Team Dover. It was an early season event and I figured that it would be simple robots and only a few design note books. I was wrong, we had amazing robots and some of the best design books I’ve seen. They had a tough job and they came through!

All of the awards were presented by Lt Col Ricardo Trimillos from the 314th Recruiting Squadron

Rookie of the Competition
Today we had several 1st time VEX competitors. All of them performed outstanding, but one team really brought their A-game. The best rookie team was today was Team 23D from Delcastle Highschool, Delaware

Amaze Award
The Amaze Award is given to a robot which has implemented an innovative design, combined with good on field performance. This two headed creature really stood out. The Amaze Award goes to Team 169D from Haverford School, Pennsylvania.

Build Award
*The Build Award is based on the all around construction of the robot. The judges look for solid construction, clean build, well planned and executed design. This rock solid robot was a strong performer in every match. The winner of the Build Award is Team 169A from Haverford School, Pennsylvania *

Today we also have an honorable mention Judges award for Build. This streamlined robot had no extra parts and was a good execution of their design. The award goes to team 81J, VEXMEN, Pennsylvania

Design Award
The airmen from the 436th Airlift Wing were highly impressed with the passion and dedication exuded by each and every team. So for all the participants Bravo!. But we can only hand out one Design Award. For their well documented design notebook and a robot that performed as engineered, please give a round of applause to team 169B from Haverford School, Pennsylvania.

We can give out a Judges Award as an honorable mention for the Design Award. This honorable mention is awarded today for this teams extensive, detailed and well thought out planning and strategy as outlined in their notebook. The dedication of this team really shows in their final robot they brought here today. Today’s honorable mention goes to 80C VEXMEN, Pennsylvania

**Excellence Award **
*The Excellence Award is presented to the top overall team at an event. From the Delaware State VEX Championship this is the top team that has earned an invitation to the World Championship.

This winning team wowed the judges with a well written design notebook. Their robot had high build quality and a unique solution to the game’s challenges. This team also blew away the competition on the playing field. This team left everyone else in their vapor trail. Congratulations to team 929W, Hereford High School, Maryland. *

As the Chief Roboteer I presented two special Awards

Promote Award
This award goes to the club or organization that has done the most to promote VEX Robotics and the importance of STEM education and careers for our roboteers. The recipient of this award has done an outstanding effort in promoting these elements. This team stepped up to an amazing challenge, how to hold a State Championship at the Dover Air Force Base. Because of their efforts, VEX and STEM education are now in the spotlight in Delaware. Thank you and congratulations to Jennifer Vallee Chief Community Relations 436th Airlift Wing and Team Dover

**Partner of the Year **
We normally present this award at the end of our season to thank the partner that has come out and done the most for us. But we are starting a year that our key partner has stepped up with support for not only this event, but for the remaining events in Eastern PA. Not just money, but a commitment for our key need, volunteer staff. I’m excited and pleased to present this award to Lt Col Ricardo Trimillos from the 314th Recruiting Squadron

Congratulations and thanks for all of the teams that participated in the 1st Delaware State VEX Championship!!

The 1st Delaware State VEX Championship was amazing. Team Dover ROCKS!

This is a summary of the day from my view. I had a blast, I met and talked to teams, got to meet some VIP’s, saw some amazing robots in action.

At 0610, I drove into the hangar to find Steve Rhoads (STEMRobotics) Mike Fleck, Bob Whalen, Cheryl Foster and Siri Manley from the VEXMEN busily unloading and setting up the last two competition fields. At 0630, Jim Crane and his UHaul of equipment from Delaware County Christian Academy arrived, along with 20 Airmen from the 436th. We were in full setup mode!

At 0730 Joe Perrotto (First State Robotics) and MSgt Arnall (Team Dover) were at registration and inspection as the first sets of Roboteers came in. We were officially open. Student volunteers from the VEXMen helped with the inspection process and we soon had a steadily growing list of inspected and ready to play robots. We ended up with 37 teams at the event.

At about 0745 a super loud buzzer began to sound. And the hanger doors started to open into the early morning sky. I’ve seen it in movies, but it does not compare to seeing 75 foot tall doors open up 300 feet wide so you can see a row of C-5 Galaxys on the tarmac in person. All activity stopped as we watched.

0800 We now have the full contingent of airmen volunteers that we divided up into teams. Andrew Adaman and Melissa Quigley took 10 airmen and 5 parent volunteers off for judges training. Our two referees, Siri Manley and Dan Troy took the scoring team off to explain the game. Bob Whalen set up queuing while I collected the last 4 airmen to train on field reset. Jim and Steve were at the scoring table setting up the main system.

0830 was the drivers meeting. Over half of the 37 teams were at their first match ever. So we took some extra time to do explanation of key rule elements. We also introduced them to the refs for the day and explained how judging would go. At 0845 we did the same for all the mentors to make sure that everyone had the same expectations.

0900 Jennifer Vallee from DAFB community Affairs started our opening ceremony. The color guard presented the flags and we all stood for the national anthem. It’s a very impressive opening, one of the bonuses of being on a military base. Our opening speaker was Lt Col Douglas Jackson 436th Operations Support Squadron Commander. (He was allowing us to use his hanger)

By 1000 we had the display’s working, match lists printed and were running our first match. The fields were named Globemaster, Galaxy, Eagle, and WASP all Air Force names of importance. Morning competition was fierce, a number of matches with over 100 point scores. Great robots for the first week in October, when most teams only have a few weeks of build under their belts.

As always, we were behind at the start, but as the morning progressed we caught back up. Siri and Dan kept the action going and with Bob doing MC duties we were able to break for lunch at 1215, only 15 minutes from schedule. Lunch was served by the 436th Booster Club which supports activities on base for the airmen. I had the meatballs which were great and was informed that I had missed out on some of the best breakfast burritos ever. Something for my list for next year.

At 1230 The Dover explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) team gave a demo of their remote control robot. They were able to pick up and score some Sacks and picked up a ping pong ball and drop it into a cup. Pretty impressive when you know that the driver is 100 yards away doing this via television.

And there was a little pressure, Col Richard Moore, the base commander (!!!) was watching from the sidelines. We appreciated the Col from taking time out of his schedule to come to the event.

At 1300 we started the last of the qualification rounds and opened the Tuskegee skills field. A number of teams showed their best efforts, but team 929W, Hereford High School, Maryland smashed the competition to walk away with both the Programming and Robot Skills challenge.

1400 the last qualification match is in the computer and our MC, Bob, starts the alliance selection process. I missed most of it while I was talking to Col. James Mercer the base Vice Commander and Larry Windley, Delaware Staff Chief from Senator Carpers office. We were very pleased with the high level VIP’s that we were able to have visit us.

I did hear some surprising declines in the alliance selection, with some high seeded team captains thinking they could build stronger alliances.

1430 the first elimination match started. We had been running 4 fields in rotation all day, so it was easy to assign the quarter final teams to a field and keep them there. It made for fast turn around times. Quarterfinals were soon over and we were in the semifinals. We would finish on time at 1600, pretty amazing for a first season event. But by my vocalizing this to Lt Col Trimillos from the 314th Recruiting Squadron, I doomed us.

The remote display computers were the first to start dropping off line. So Bob had to step up to announce the time remaining more often. And then the field control for the two semifinals died. Some quick testing was unable to figure out the cause. We broke out the VEX competition switches and with Jim running the blue alliance and me running the red, we did manual match control of the last semifinal.

1600 was the start of the first final. For me the best parts of the final set was Team 23D from Delcastle Delaware, driving a modified claw bot. Their mission was to score the two golds in the high goals and then flip sacks out of the opposing teams troughs. They had an amazing drive team that even with the short time they had been working they had perfected some of their moves.

They other was the intra VEXMEN rivals. Our newest 6th grade all girls team up against older siblings. There were some serious bragging rights on the line.

Finals 1 had the number 1 seed 929W from Hereford High, Maryland and 357 Royal Assault, Pennsylvania up against the number 3 seed 23D from Delcastle Delaware and 80J - VEXMEN:Jubilee, Pennsylvania. After some very intense play, the top seed took the win.

After a short break, Finals 2 was played with the #1 seed 81G VEXMEN:Gambit, Pennsylvania and #3 81X VEXMEN:X-23, Pennsylvania getting their chance to play. But it was the overwhelming play by 929W that carried the 1# seed to the win.

A pretty spectacular end to a great day of robotics in Delaware. Lt Col Trimillos from the 314th Recruiting Squadron did the honors in presenting the awards to all of our teams.

Special thanks to SWAG 3281A and B of York PA for walking the hanger looking for Foreign Objects (it’s an Air Force procedure where they line up and walk as a unit to sweep the floor of all objects. )

By 1730 the last van was packed and we were out of the building.

A pretty spectacular day for the 1st Delaware State Championship!

Are their any videos of this event?

Also what was the highest programming and robot skills runs at this competition?

Thanks to everyone that helped. The Airmen of the 436th and 314th along with parent volunteers made this event what it was. The amount support from the robotics community is staggering.

More detailed thanks:

I want to make an effort to say thanks to the biggest success factor of the weekend, the Airmen of the 436th. They were a great crew on both the Friday setup day and the day of the event. I was impressed how fast they were able to transform the hangar to a VEX competition and then on Saturday back to the hangar.

They also were our judges, score team and reset team. They were also our biggest fans, the loudest cheering during the finals came from them. There isn’t any way this would have been possible without them.

Thank you to Col Richard Moore, the base commander of Dover Air Force Base. Team Dover’s mission statement is “Deliver” and they did just that this weekend. This is the first robotics competition that I know of on a military base, I appreciate his willingness to open his base up to us.

Lt Col Douglas Jackson 436th Operations Support Squadron Commander supplied the airmen and the all important hangar. It’s super clean condition and painted floor created no small amount of “garage envy” with some of the mentors. Thank you!

Behind the scenes was a huge security effort managed by Maj. Melissa Brown and the 436th Security Forces Squadron. They got us onto the base, to the correct location, secured parking, the facility and the flight line. I know that many of you thought it was a pain to have to preregister roboteers and family, but it was Maj Brown’s willingness to work with us have 450 visitors in the middle of an active air base that made this happen.

Jennifer Vallee of Community Affairs was our liaison to the base. Her answer to the few issues and problems was “let me make a call”. I would love to have her contact list, all of the problems went away on a phone call. Her expertise of running events on base made this possible. And while liaison is a small word, she managed the massive spiderweb of groups at the base that had to be informed and coordinated. She got us the great stage, the portable bleachers, food service, etc. I was simply in awe of what she and her team was able to accomplish. There needs to be a bigger word than Thank You for her efforts.

Lt Col Ricardo Timillos of the 314th Recruiting Squadron was the catalyst for making this a real event. He’s the person that got us access to the base staff long enough to listen to the proposal. He was able to work the political side of this effort. His support for STEMRobotics and robotics competitions in SE PA has been amazing. Thanks to you and your staff of the 314th.

I want to single out a member of the Lt Col Timillos staff, MSgt Steve Szesko, he is the Dover Recruiting contact. I’m sure that many things got “delegated” to him that he wasn’t expecting, and I appreciate his efforts.

Thanks to the EOD group for doing the demo, the roboteers were in awe of your robot and this is the kind of “hey that’s cool, I want to do that” that we are trying to instill.

From the Air Force thanks to MSgt Brandon Arnall and SMSgtTerry Torsky for your help during the two days.

I’m sure there are a number of Air Force Team Dover members that I’m missing, and I apologize for missing them.

Thanks to the parents and supporters of the VEXMEN, DC Knights Robotics, Haverford Robotics and Norristown Robotics. Supplying us with people and hardware was a great assist. Special thanks to Jim Crane, Bob Whalen and Mike Fleck for leaving your teams to help setup and run the event was amazing.

Thanks to SWAG 3281A and B of York PA for walking the hanger looking for Foreign Objects (it’s an Air Force procedure where they line up and walk as a unit to sweep the floor of all objects. ) Foreign Object Damage (FOD) to aircraft was a huge concern for everyone.

Thanks to all the roboteers, mentors, family members and visitors that came to participate and watch the event. I was excited to have 37 teams, 121 roboteers and over 350 people at the 1st Delaware State VEX Championship.

Finally, thanks to Steve Rhoads of STEMRobotics. Steve is ex-Air Force and when we got support from Lt Col Trimillos for the robotics events in the Southeast PA area, he came up with the idea to have it on an air base. Well it really started out having the event INSIDE of a C-5, but that quickly got dialed back. But it’s Steve’s vision that got this event rolling. I also wanted to say thanks to him for driving all the STEMRobotics equipment around, setting up and then spending the entire day making sure that VIPs, parents and others understood the need for STEM education and what we are able to accomplish through competition robotics.

It was an amazing event!

I’m sure there are some made by each team. Hopefully they will link some here.

High Score Programming was 40, Robot skills was 115.

High Score in Quals was 145.