Vex Robotics Competition - Newbie questions

I have been involved in FRC for the last three years as a mentor. I would like to have a more concrete and challenging fall season for the students and was looking at the VEX Robotics Competition as a possible way of doing that.

Some questions I had which I couldn’t find the answers for:

  1. When will the next VEX Robotics Competition be announced?
  2. When is the build season (the time from when the students can actively build to when they must stop)?
  3. Can we only use Vex Robotics parts?
  4. If yes to question 3, is a kit of parts provided as part of registering or do you just order one or more of the kits from Vex Robotics?
  5. Are there teams registered from Minnesota? If so, is there a way to find out who they are and make contact with them?
  6. I saw reference to only 9th-12th grade students, but then another thing I read had 7th and 8th grade students. What are the age restrictions?

Thank you for your help.

  • T

First off, Welcome to VEX. I think that you will find it a very rewarding experience for the kids. I have also been with FRC for the past 5 years, and with VEX for the past 2.

  1. The new game will be announced at the World Championship in Dallas, April 22-24.

  2. There is no ‘build’ season like FRC or BEST. Once the game is announced, you can start planning and building for the new game. You will need to pay attention to the RobotEvent page ( for competitons in your area. They go on all year.

  3. Yes, VEX parts are the only thing available to use, with a few minor exceptions (see game rules). There are starter kits you can find [here

  4. You will need to determine the number of teams that you will want to compete with for that year’s competition, and then order accordingly. There is no kit that comes with registration.

  5. Contact IFI for local information

  6. There is no age restrictions. There were over 2000 middle and high school teams that competed this year together.](“”)

Thanks, Paul, for doing most of the work! I’ll fill in a few other details.

I used to be a mentor on FRC 1294, team “Top Gun.” :slight_smile:

Generally, yes, but you should check the rules for the new game when they come out on the 24th to be sure.

The VEX Robotics Competition (VRC) does this differently from FIRST. This year, the registration fee for a team was only $75 for the first team, and $25 for each additional team. You buy your own parts. This is the most popular all-around starter kit for a new team: ($749 with software), but you will probably spend another $100-400 the first year. In future years you can disassemble the old robot and reuse the parts. Most teams tell us that their parts replacement cost is about 20% per year.

Contact Marc Couture, at He is the VRC rep for the upper Midwest.

The only age restriction is that the student has to be enrolled in a pre-university course of study, and is (generally) younger than a typical college freshman. The official definition is in the game rules, but middle- and junior high school students are welcome.

As a suggestion, when you register for next year, you can use your FRC team number, if no one from the previous year used it for their VEX team number. Most of the time it is open. This way, your team can keep it’s identity.

Looking around the states in your area, I see that there were 2 events in Illinois, 1 in Wisconsin, and 5 in Nebraska (including the Championships of America).

This should not limit your resources, as you could host an event yourself. Rick is better with the numbers than myself, but VEX grew enormously this year, so the potential for growth in the North Central states is there. Next year will only get bigger and better, and IFI is always looking for new partners to host events.


Are you anywhere near Eagan and the Lockheed Martin plant there? If you are, I can ask around to see if anyone at that plant is involved with the VRC program; and if they aren’t I can ask them if they want to be - I know we have FLL and FRC mentors working there.

Even if you aren’t near Eagan, post your approximate location and I’ll ask if anyone knows someone near you. Also, if you are close to the Canandian border you might find some allies up North.


PS: I’m leaving tomorrow (Tuesday) AM to drive a van full of Lockheed Martin exhibit equipment to to the FIRST Championships - I might not not catch up with you until middle of next week - Please don’t think me rude if I am slow replying.

Specifically, the 2011 game will be announced on Friday, 4/23/10. The build season lasts from that date until the 2011 World Championship (probably in late April). As such, VRC is a much different dynamic than FRC - robots can be constantly modified, which means that a stellar robot at an early tournament might not win a single match at World Championships.

Good luck getting started, and I hope you find VRC to be a rewarding investment.

The same team came to mind. :slight_smile:
As a student in both, I find that VEX really enhances the ability of students, especially younger and less experienced members, to participate in the more limited 6 weeks of FRC. Without VEX, a lot of the freshmen at our school clearly would have been left in the dust due to the lack of time that is inherent with a limited build season, since veteran members and mentors don’t really have time to teach the students along the way.

Our school pretty much considers VEX one of the “off-season” projects, though a lot of schools I know do VEX through FRC season too. Have fun!

I think it says a lot for the grade 9 and 10 members of 1899 for building two robots this year that were always competitive and qualified for Worlds. Two trips to Worlds in two years for a team that pretty much doesn’t have adult help is a good thing. Team 1899 practices on our field with the Exothermic teams, and I’m happy to think that they are part of our extended family.

Knowing local teams is an awesome thing, especially if you’re in touch with friendly experienced teams (i.e. Exo). It’s a treat to be playing Worlds-level teams every practice. We couldn’t possibly ask for better preparation :cool: