Very First Tournament

This was our maiden year to start a Robotics Team. I completed the PLTW IED Course Training at Cal Poly Pomona last summer, and proceeded forward with the school year being cast into teaching four different subjects, one class of which was IED.

I had received a $2000 grant from sPower Solar Company and after some research, I learned that we actually had a local VEX robotics league. It was November by the time I connected with the league, but I asked my students if any of them would be interested in going and watching an event. Several students were interested and so I took them to a competition that was put on by the Kern Robotics League.

We received a grant from Chevron that paid for our very first clawbot after that visit, and because it was really too late in the season to learn RobotC and actually compete, my small team and I volunteered for other league events. I went through the Judges Training, and my kids had fun seeing all of the various robots compete while they served as runners and set up fields between qualifications. It was a wonderful learning experience for all of us.

I entered one competition at the end of the season and only 2 students showed up the morning that we were due to leave the school for the event. I lamented as to whether to drive the 65 miles after waiting for the other team members to show up. The kids told me to go, and needless to say the day was yet another HUGE learning experience for all three of us. We chastised the other team members on the following Monday morning, and I think that the anticipated stress of competition was the underlying reason for the absentees.

After that day, I was asked by the students if we could host a tournament at our school. My response was, I don’t know, I’ll ask." I was told that we could host a tournament. I was then asked if I thought that it might be held over our back field chain link fence, which is where the Mojave SpacePort is located. Once again I said that I would ask.

I have training this summer break, 20 days will be spent in training for DM, AR and POE. The summer will be a very short break before we resume classes on August 10th. Our PLTW supplies will all be waiting for me when I return from POE training on August 6th.

We have been given the Virgin Galatic SpaceShip II hangar at the Mojave Space Port, by The Space Ship Company for our StarStruck Tournament. How cool is that for a first tournament???

All I can say is “WOW!”

What an inspiring start for your group!

Wow! Sounds really cool.
We once went to an event inside an aircraft hangar at Dover Air Force base. Those transport aircraft are HUGE!

Spaceships are even cooler!

However, the Air Force needed to provide a ton of security at the open bay doors to ensure no one went where they were not supposed to go. Not sure what the spaceport will try and bill you for so you may want to check on that before you have the bay doors open all day. I am not sure what kinds of military things are at the space port vs commercial items.

Make sure you do plenty of PR for your tournament now to get people to sign up. (Oh, like you are doing now) Work with your RECF person to help get the word out too. But on you can get a listing of the teams in your state to contact them. Since CA is so huge, you may want to look for zip codes in the southern part of the state to not send a gazillion emails to people hundreds of miles away.

Also look at past events reasonably close to you for help. Bakersfield seems to have a few events.

Offering up free event for a field or a full day volunteer helps a ton. Getting all the number of field control and display computers, projectors, monitors, cables helps too. A local team that has run events before could help.

Setting up the afternoon before helps a ton. Your first event is chaos heavy on the setup without someone to lean on for advice and guidance.

Is this the hangar and the two airships/spaceships? Monstrously large hangar!

That’s really great, and I love hearing stories about people getting started in robotics! My first tournament was a BIG learning experience for me, and I don’t think I was ready for how much more intense it was than the robotics I had done in 5th and 6th grade. So glad that you guys are joining the robotics family!