What is required/recommended for hosting an event?

I’m trying to get my mentor to buy the stuff to host an event with any money we might have left over this year. What would we need to run an event? The list I sent to my mentor is as follows:

Is there anything else I’d need? Is anything on this list not necessary? I’d do 2 competition fields, and 1 practice field. We already have one set of tiles. They’re pretty banged up, but I’d put them on the practice field.

Also, where can I get TM?

EDIT: Also, does the registration fee go the EP/host, or to RobotEvents?

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To the edit, it goes to the host, also concession stand usually these are profitable.

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You don’t have to buy all of the field perimeters and components. You can just allow a school to get into your competition for free if they bring their own field in. With monitor stands, you can just place monitors on a box from school computers, or you don’t even need one in general. With monitors, you can buy a used monitor for insanely cheap, or just use school computer monitors. You can buy a used monitor for 30 bucks here: Amazon.com
In theory, here it should go with just using/borrowing:

  • 2x sets of tiles (Borrowed from another team/school): free
  • 3x field perimeter (Borrowed from another team/school): free
  • 2x field controller kit (Almost no way around getting this): $149.99
  • 2x monitor stand (Using a box): free, or $1
  • 3x game objects and field elements, these sold for $500 both this year and last year (Borrowed from another team/school): free
  • 2x monitors (can use school computers, but you can but used ones for 30 bucks): $60

NOTE: One thing I recommend is getting one or two projectors, but most probably your school will have some for free.
Total Cost: $200-220
Hopefully this helps :slight_smile:

We do have projectors. I know we plan to buy at least one field perimeter, and 1 set of game objects, even if we don’t host an event. I’d rather not borrow everything, as I’d rather not have to cancel a competition if a team can’t make it. I went to an event this year which had no practice fields because the organization that was supposed to bring them didn’t show.

@puzzler7 There are 2 sets of competition fields with necessary field control hardware available for events in Arizona (not sure that they come with season-specific game/field elements though).

This year, we (ACPE) didn’t get those, so we:

  • Bought 2 field control sets
  • Bought 2 driver station stands (forgot their actual name)
  • Bought 2 field monitor stands
  • Borrowed 2 fields from other schools (we have a full field ourselves)
  • Bought a game element set (we had a full set ourselves and borrowed another with a borrowed field, but needed a third for the practice field)

Get TM from here: vextm.dwabtech.com

I am not a fan of letting teams compete for free because they bring a field in. I also don’t know of it happening at all in AZ thus far. As for borrowing fields, be prepared to go to the school you’re borrowing from and get the field yourself, and make sure you get the field no later than the night before the tournament. We have never had a problem with this approach.

If you want me to go to your school and help you guys organize your first tournament, feel free to PM me next year. Also let me know if you want more details on my preferred tournament setup (electronics, layout/floor plan, etc.).

Edit: Don’t forget a wireless mic and audio system for the emcee(s).

We run events with 5-6 fields. Our district has five fields, so having to borrow one field is not too bad. We loan out our game sets when needed.

As others having pointed out - don’t forget the A/V.

But really the most important point for hosting an event - you need a lot of qualified volunteers to run the event. Make sure you referee crew and TM operations have worked together. It keeps the flow going. Your judging crew is also important to do right. Lots of other volunteers are needed for team checking, pit administration, … Be sure to thank them over and over!

I was under the impression, maybe incorrectly, that Microchip had a portable competition set of fields for use in Phoenix. Maybe you could ask them?

The registration fee is usually paid through Robotevents. They then send checks to the EP (less 3% handling fee). It is the preferred way to go, that way the EP doesn’t have to chase down and track payments.

As for running an event, for many years here in Wisconsin, we ran events by sharing fields. And it was just expected, we didn’t let teams in for free for supplying fields. As we would supply our field to their event.

We never use any less than 4 fields for an event regardless of how small. And I have run events from 16 to 79 teams. For an event of up two 32, you can get by with 2 competition fields, 1 skills/practice field and 1 strictly practice field. You will need a laptop to serve as the main TM server, possibly one or two more laptops to run all of the video outputs, a laptop to run the pit display plus a laptop to run the skills field. You need field monitors on the two competition fields and the skills field. (You can get by om the skills field with a stop watch and a competition switch, but not the best way to go) On the competition fields, we usually run two projectors and screens, one for each field. If there is a match on field 1, that screen is showing the in game timing to the audience while the other screen is scrolling the standings, then it flips when there is a match on field 2.

As for referees, for 2 fields, it is good to have a minimum of 5 well-trained referees. One is the head referee. We try to have judging panels of two judges per 8 teams (at a minumum), if you are doing formal interviews plus one or two to read the Engineering Notebooks… So an event of 32, would need 10 judges.
You can get by with less, if you don’t do the formal interviews (they are not required) and just have the judges wander through the pits and competition (still need readers of the notebooks however.)

I am attaching a pdf of a Powerpoint that I developed for our local event partners. It refers to “the trailer”, that is because in our area, we have a non-profit called Fox Valley Competitive Robotics, Inc. that owns a trailer with four full fields and everything an EP would need to run an event that we rent out.
Running a Quality VEX Event.pdf (390 KB)

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As others have said, you can borrow two competition fields and field control junk. You’ll need a practice/skills field and the game elements. You get the registrations, so it can be pretty profitable. You also get a 50% discount on fields, so that helps too.

actually, 50% for game elements - $200 off perimeter this year. Each year they announce what discounts are available to event partners.

I would contact your regional RECF Manager once your mentor is onboard for hosting events.

If you were in Virginia, all you’d need is the $$ to cover the rental of a trailer from our state organizer that basically has a “tournament in a trailer.” I guess I hadn’t realized that this isn’t available everywhere. For states with a large number of teams and events, this could be a consideration.

If you want to run an event, read everything on this webpage.

Thanks for that doc, looks handy. The program I mentor is tiny (3 teams, <4 hrs a week after school,) but has been around long enough I feel we should host at least a skills/scrimmage event. Nice to see a clear planning guide in addition to the REC links @Rick TYler posted.

As others have mentioned, you can borrow most of the field stuff in exchange for entry fees. I do think it is a good idea to have at least one field of your own. It can get your team(s) into other tournaments for free. The good news is that you get the perimeter and the field and game elements for half price plus shipping as an event partner.

As mentioned before, payments made through robotevents do come to the EP minus 3% EVENTUALLY. We did not get our last check that was dated in February for payments made in January March. REC is notoriously slow in getting you the money. That has been my personal experience over the last 3 seasons doing 3 tournaments a year and each time they tell me it is because they are implementing some new system that will make things faster, but in fact, it just gets slower.

I plan to go back to offering an early bird special for teams that sign up and pay us directly by a certain date well in advance of the competition.

Volunteers are a big must. We do not compete in our own tournaments so that the team can volunteer. We did not do it that way our first year, but since we made the change, things have gone so much better.

Make sure you have enough tables and chairs for pits and the room for them.

The number of fields you need will depend on the number of teams you have in the tournament. The more teams, the more fields.

Make sure you have a practice field. You can also ask teams to bring their own scoring objects for practice and just provide the field. We typically provide objects but after the destruction of so many stars on the practice field this year, I am re-thinking that for future years.

Concessions are where the money can be made if it is done well. We always sell a lot of bottled water and cans of soft drinks. Both are high profit margin items and they do not spoil if you have some left over.

Extension cords and power strips are also good to have. Having electricity in the pits is important. Sometimes it cannot happen but it is much better when teams can charge batteries in their pits.

When you go to other tournaments, take notes. Look at what is working and what is not working. Try to think from the team’s perspective.

Vex trophies are also very over priced. If you only do one tournament, it is not a big deal because they will give you one set for free. If you do more than one tournament, you are on your own for the additional tournaments.

@puzzler7 Go for it! But get help from neighboring teams versus shelling out all the money. We have relied on many other teams to help fill events full of fields, controllers, projectors and the like. Each year we buy a bit more. Four years ago it was a bare bones affair. Finally after doing it a few times we have finally gotten it down to somewhat of a system. But it starts with that first event you host. I think we were 2.5 hours behind our first time running an event.

We give a team fee waiver for any field and/or a full day volunteer. It helps an absolute ton. It also makes it more of a community than a single team. We handle checks directly as we see each other week after week anyway. Depending upon how often you see these teams, your process may vary. Backups of control towers and field controllers are always good to have.

Getting a good price from the school for the rent and janitorial staff costs helps too. That is the single biggest cost for running events for us. (Trophies are a close second for a second event) Two janitors for 10-11 hours at weekend rates adds up.

Our school district has also said you need a food handlers license for anything beyond pizza in a box as a snack bar. (remember Vex forums not a place for political statements about excessive regulations) So be sure to check that out so you don’t run afoul of the school rules. We have outsourced cafeteria services here so maybe it was them trying to get their fingers in the pie, maybe it is some state law, I am not sure of the soure. So we now have two parents with food handlers licenses. The course is $200 or so and you may never look at restaurants the same way again. With that all said, we do run a kickin snack bar! (well not that first year… you will get better. just keep that in mind.)

Lastly, make sure you can get in the night before to set up. Setting up things the day of the event leads to delays. Like I said, 2.5 hours behind that first time and we thought we set up the night before OK. This year we went through lunch break in our first event. So even years later we still get behind.

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