This event was the first time I got a chance to drive team 38’s tank of a robot so I remember it pretty well. It was cool to see the general public interested in FIRST, in a way most people wouldn’t ordinarily get to experience outside of a regional or well-advertised off-season competition. It was nice to see people walk in and fill up the stands not knowing what to expect, and leave pleasantly surprised. With a regional or off-season competition, the portion of the general public attending usually has a good idea of what’s going on, from prior experience or connections to friends/family/co-workers/etc. involved in FIRST. The majority of the crowd at the Big-E went for the fair, and stumbled upon FIRST on their way through the various exibits. Really a great way to introduce people to the program!
I remember our team did pretty well against the other robots (after nearly last place at both the UTC regional and nationals in Epcot), once we figured out our mammoth of a robot made a great defensive blocking bot! (terrible offense.) Buzz had billed it’s robot as un-movable when they put their sticky wheels down, but we managed to shove them a few inches in a battle for the ramp. In the process though, with a few seconds on the clock, one of our fisher-price drive motors blew out, spewing smoke into the air, much to the excitement of the crowd. One of the attendants dove onto the field into our robot and pulled the battery out! (this being before circuit breakers- the days of the mighty 60 amp fuse). I’ll never forget that, and would definitely love to see this event happen again. Maybe a cooalition of teams would like to get together and try to plan an annual Big-E off-season competition?