Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Prior Lake Robotics 2016 Minne Mini Tournament

Prior Lake Robotics 2016 Minne Mini Tournament
November 20, 2016

In November, Prior Lake Robotics hosted the 2016 Minne Mini Tournament.  The event gets about 2000 visitors to come watch some exciting robot on robot action.

The tournament has 36 teams from around the state of Minnesota who come to Prior Lake High School to compete in last year's First Robotics Challenge.  It's a nice way for the younger kids to get experience in participating in an actual tournament to help them prepare for the 2017 game which will be announced in early January.

Our high school team is KING TeC #2169 and they have had a very successful run over the years at competing in various tournaments.  These matches are a lot of fun to watch.

Students are responsible for designing, building, programming, and operating the robot each year from scratch to perform a series of tasks to score points during the game.  It's usually pretty stressful getting the robot ready on the night before a tournament.

Parents and friends of the program prepare meals for the huge number of volunteers it takes to set up the Mini Minne Tournament.

The field is pretty massive and has to be transported by semi truck.  Volunteers work into the late hours of the night to be certain it's ready on time.

It takes a lot of volunteer hours to put together a tournament like this and these ladies put in a ton of effort to make it a success.

Before the tournament, students teach a variety of classes to other teams on how to be more successful in competing in First Robotics.  This photo shows a class on Java programming.  Cooperative competition or "Cooperatition" is one of the fundamental principles of First Robotics.

Not a lot of robotics teams have their own band, but KING TeC's does a great job playing the national anthem to start the show.

Judging these robotics teams can be quite challenging with so many talented students involved, but we're lucky to have a lot of great judges who help us each year.

The KING TeC drive team was intensely prepared for a day full of competition.

Outside of the tournament floor, our FTC teams had a chance to show off their skills and answer questions.  Their season is already well under way with some of our Prior Lake Robotics teams advancing through the various levels of competition.

At the same time that the high school FRC tournament was happening, Prior Lake Robotics also hosted a tournament for the First Lego League elementary school teams.

The robots and players may be smaller, but the excitement and competition is still as intense as it is in the gymnasium with the older kids.  Congratulations to all the FLL teams who competed.

Mentors from the high school FRC team KING TeC #2169 help run the FLL tournament for the elementary school students.

Prior Lake Robotics currently supports more than 350 kids in 5 different robotics programs stretching from kindergarten through the 12th grade.   It's an incredible program.

Our youngest teams are in Junior FLL.  They had the chance to display their creations during the tournament.

High Tech Kids runs the tournaments for the FLL teams.  Congratulations on another great year!

We're pretty lucky to be in a school district that supports robotics as much as ours does.  This is the president of our booster club, the principal of one of our local elementary schools, the principal of the high school, our head coach, the superintendent of schools, and a school board member who all came to the tournament to show their support.  We sure appreciate all that they do for us.

We also had Tony Albright stop by who is a recently re-elected member of the Minnesota House of Representatives and a friend of Prior Lake Robotics.  Thanks, Tony!

Prior Lake Robotics has a tremendous group of supporters who help our program to grow and build STEM skills in hundreds of students. 

We wanted to give a special shout-out to our friends at PTC who have been such great supporters of Prior Lake Robotics over the years.   Thanks, PTC!!