I’m in the process of trying to start a preliminary calendar for 2022-23. I want to run some JROTC only events and VEX U events. I’m in Northern Delaware and wondering how to entice VEX U teams to come. I’m equal distance from Richmond VA to New Haven CT. So a 3:30 hour drive puts me in your back yard.
How do I get teams to come and get the most bang for their time / effort? Is a noon start to let teams drive in, do 1/2 day sat afternoon (12-4) then regroup Sunday morning and do (9-1) to give teams time to pack up and return back? The split session gives a chance to drive, play, fix/rebuild/party/sleep, then play, drive the next day.
Or is an all day Saturday event the best way to go? Or all day on Sunday?
Is 3 fields, Play, Skills, Practice enough or would Play / Skills&Practice also work?
The West Virginia vexu qualifier this year is the best vex tournament I have ever attended in my 3.5 years of competing in both vrc and vexu. Since they start their competition at noon, we were able to wait until everyone finished their classes (6pm) to leave Champaign, arrive at wv a bit pass midnight, and didn’t have to worry about getting up early the next day. The competition was very well organized with 3 match fields, 1 skills field, and 1 practice field. The event was actually running ahead of schedule so we felt less rushed. I think having a one day tournament from 12-8 is better than having a two day tournament from 12-4 and 9-1, because if teams have to stay at the hotel on Saturday night anyway it might just be better for them to be able to sleep in on Sunday and still get back home at a reasonable time. The venue at wv was super nice as well, there was plenty space for every team so it was not crowded at all. I think the combination of starting at noon + not running behind of schedule + big venue/enough space for every team makes my experience at wv very pleasant. I’d be willing to go there again if they host it again next season.
In my experience the density of U events is low enough that if your event has a reasonable schedule and there are no other events nearby (like, within a couple of states) on the same day, you will probably get a decent number of teams. Geographically you are in a pretty good place. A couple seasons ago I calculated that something like 53% of the world’s registered VEXU teams were within a (long) day’s drive of the WV qualifier, I imagine the percentage would probably be pretty similar for you in Delaware.
I will definitely recommend the noon-8 schedule, as long as you don’t have to break down that night. It works really well for us because we run VRC HS states in the same gym the next day, so once the U tournament is over all we have to do is lay out the next day’s pit signs and go home. Plus it is nice to show up to the venue at 10ish and have plenty of time to finish setting things up rather than walking in at 7 and having teams already lined up for inspection.
My rule of thumb for planning U events is basically to pretend it’s a VRC event with twice as many teams. If you have a U event with 10 teams (on the larger side but not the largest of the season), from a schedule perspective that’s like a 20 team VRC event because there are only 2 teams in each match. So I would run with however many fields you would normally have at a VRC event with 2x the teams. For an event that size we would have at least 3 or 4 fields – 2 for head-to-head, 1 for skills/practice, and ideally a separate practice field if we can.
Aw thanks, we try.
Definitely happening again next season, date TBC but probably March 3 or 10.
I would recommend trying to get the event done in one day. Most of the time, we drive up Friday after classes, and then leave Saturday night or Sunday morning (depending on the distance). I would also try to clump it soon after another large competition (WPI on the east coast for example). VexU teams are kind of notorious for procrastinating and dropping right before events. If you schedule the events around other ones, we have to be prepared.
Also, make a long cycle time. Purdue’s event ran at a 7 minute cycle and we were still behind. (This wasn’t completely our fault as the people running it, VexU teams are slow and all the other events were still slow.)
Definitely agree with the cycle time. I ran my VEXU event this year at the same time as a VRC event, running 2 VRC matches, and then 1 VEXU match to give an effective cycle time of 9 minutes for VEXU.
This was a pretty good structure for the event as it gave the college teams time to cycle, without making the event as a whole run at a glacial pace. Running it alongside a VRC event also helps to make the event financially viable.