Plowbots harvest awards
The 2012 U.S. FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) was held the first weekend of March for the Regional events in San Antonio. Competing in that Regional were 64 teams representing a number of states and Mexico. The game this year was entitled “Rebound Rumble.” Traveling down to the Alamo Regional was the Roscoe Plowbots who made their third straight appearance in the FRC contest. The objective in the game was for teams, along with their alliance teams, to score as many baskets in goals that ranged from two to eight feet high. Additionally, teams were awarded points for balancing on a tilting bridge by themselves or with other robots. After nine rounds of competition, alliances were chosen to compete for the Regional champion to travel on to St. Louis for the National Championships. While designing this year’s robot, the Roscoe Plowbots decided to remain true to their roots and model their machine after a combine and a cotton stripper, which are a very common site in their community. The machine had yellow forks that raised and lowered a combine made from stripper brushes donated by Duvall’s Stripper Repair in Roscoe. Once the game started the forks would lower and the brushes began turning to “harvest” the basketballs so another combine could then lift the balls up into the shooter which resembled a pitching machine wheel. Those controlling the robot with the remote controls were able to adjust the distance of the shot and to steer the robot in any direction.Though not advancing to the finals in the 64-team tournament, Roscoe did bring home two outstanding awards. First, was the Xerox Creative Design award for connecting the design of the robot to a farming theme that represented their community; secondly, they also received the “Coopertition” award. This is a very coveted award by the US FIRST organization, especially since they coined the term to describe the essence of the spirit desired for those competing in the program. They want all teams to try and win, however, they also want all teams to work together and demonstrate high levels of cooperation. Roscoe was awarded the award for helping more than a dozen teams with spare parts, materials, advice, and game assistance. Roscoe’s FRC team consists of 13 students in grades 9-12, 2 managers from the lower grades, and is coached by teachers Dan Boren and John Cox. The team would like to especially thank their mentors from Ludlum Measurements in Sweetwater, Texas — Jamie Witt and Shane Martin. They also would like to thank all of their generous sponsors who make this opportunity possible: The Texas Workforce Commission, Ludlum Measurements, Duvall’s Stripper Repair, Sweetwater Machine and Welding, Roscoe State Bank, Vickie’s Gifts, Hagerman’s NAPA, Central Fasteners and West Texas Rock Resources.