The 1st annual CowTown Throwdown was an amazing experience. Mark Koors and I hauled out a FIRST Overdrive field from Indiana to help these Kansas City FIRSTers with their event.
I’ve been to many off-season events, and this one is very impressive. The Throwdown took place on the campus of the Cerner Corporation, who is impressively stepping up to support FIRST in the Kansas City area. Although this was the first year for the Throwdown, these guys and gals had everything planned and organized very well.
It seemed like these folks were seasoned veterans at putting on an off-season competition. They had videos playing, between matches, of interviews with students and volunteers (much like BattleCry). They had a wonderful bbq lunch for all of the attending teams (much like IRI in the past). They had a few mentor matches, and gave teams a chance to run practice matches on Friday night.
The event location was in Cerner’s “Associate Center”, which is an activity center for Cerner employees. I’ve worked at a couple of big companies (GE and Delphi), and this place was more impressive than any activity center I have seen. They had locker rooms, a pool, raquetball courts, and we played with our robots in their 1,000-seat gym.
I STRONGLY encourage any team to look forward to attending this event next year.
The coolest thing about this trip was experiencing the passion, hospitality, and friendship demonstrated by the organizers and participants. Team Driven (FRC 1730) was the lead team, and many mentors and students played significant roles in leading and running this event. Also, other area teams pitched in to help. These teams worked very well together… so much that I had a hard time telling who was on which team.
Also, it was very nice to see Bomb Squad (FRC 16) crew from Arkansas, as they demonstrated the 2009 Control System.
Mark and I are very happy that we attended and made many new friends. The FIRST community is going to see this area grow, and this event is not only a great asset to the Kansas City FRC community, but also a great event to attend for any team.