Robotics teams collided earlier this month when high schools from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oklahoma competed in a competition inside Denham Springs High’s Hornsby Gym on Saturday, Oct. 9.
The gym was transformed into a space station for the 8th Annual Dow Red Stick Rumble, an off-season FIRST® (For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition and Festival.
During the competition, students competed with giant robots battling on a field designed from the minds of Lucasfilm and Star Wars: Force for Change. The winning team received the coveted Red Stick Rumble Trophy.
This year’s event was the first FIRST Robotics Competition held in more than two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the 2021 competition season was held virtually, many members of each attending team had never seen a FIRST Robotics Competition in person.
“Offering this opportunity to these team members is not just about competition but about continuing the hope that things are getting back to normal where one day soon we will all be competing together in official competitions,” said Daniel Eiland, the event director of the Dow Red Stick Rumble, in a statement.
In the competition, called Infinite Recharge, student drivers remotely controlled their “bott,” racing them across the floor to gather large yellow balls that they projected toward small portals at either end of the constructed field.
The teams scored when their balls, or “power cells,” went through the small holes, or “power ports.”
Then with 30 seconds remaining in the competition, drivers attempted to maneuver their bots to the center of the field to climb a “shield generator,” which was a metal rack, or park underneath it for extra points.
“These competitions allow the students to realize the practical application of their work,” Eiland said. “The students construct these robots, they program them for commands, and then they remotely operate their moves. All that they do is based on learned concepts.”
The event was open to the public to view, giving anyone a chance to come take in the action.
This year’s competition, sponsored by Dow Chemical, featured students from schools in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oklahoma. Denham Springs High School placed two teams in the competition.
The winners of this year’s competition, part of an alliance of three robots, were Team Fusion from Gulfport High School in Gulfport, Miss.; Team Prometheus from Mandeville High School in Mandeville, La.; and Denham Venom #2 from Denham Springs High School.
The Denham Venom #1 team as part of the second-ranked alliance, taking a runner-up in the competition and competing against its fellow classmates in the final match.