Choosing a Competition - Senior Mentor-hosted call for FRC teams

Don’t forget to join me tomorrow, Thursday, September 8, 2011 at 7pm ET for the FIRST Senior Mentor-hosted teleconference on “FRC Teams - Choosing a Competition.” Our guest speaker will be Frank Merrick, FRC Deputy Director. Download the call-in directions and outline here:

Unfortunately I missed the call, but the question I have falls under the “choosing a regional” umbrella.

When selecting regionals, what weight is given to “primary” and “additional” regionals? I’ll frame my question:

The Boilermaker Regional is in our home state, we’ve been going to it every year, we have lots of friends that compete in that regional and we plan to continue going there. It’s within driving distance, so we don’t have to charter a bus or get hotel rooms to compete there.

The Queen City Regional is about equidistant from our school, but it is not in our home state; according to school board policy, township buses cannot cross state lines. It’s questionable whether we’ll have the resources to be able to pay for the additional registration fee as well as travel and rooms. However, if this is a NASA-sponsored event (not yet confirmed or denied), we could be the beneficiary of a NASA grant to compete there. In order to qualify for the NASA grant (if it exists) would we have to, or would it be better to claim the QCR as our primary regional? If the NASA grant doesn’t happen for us, we would most likely be unable to attend our “home” event, BMR.

So the question is this: Would it be better to sign up for BMR with registration then QCR as additional, or QCR-then-BMR?

An additional twist is the Smoky Mountain Regional - if it’s a NASA regional then it is quite tempting as well (especially given the great reviews from last year’s competing teams).

My two cents: Keeping in mind that all Regionals are Bag and Tag now, which will be easier for you to bring your robot and pit materials to? That might influence your decision.

Since the NASA question is an unknown, wouldn’t it be “safer” to choose your home Regional first, and choose the out-of-state Regional as a second choice? By the time second regional registration opens you may have some answers to your questions about the regionals being NASA-sponsored, you may have additional funding to be able to afford to go, etc.

Thanks for the quick reply, Kathie. It was cool to meet you and your husband at IRI.
I guess a better way to word my original question is this: When awarding grants, does NASA historically give extra weight to initial regionals vs. secondary ones?

[edit]Since BMR is restricted to 40 teams, I think we’ll go for that one first. Thanks for your input.[/edit]