pic: Lone Star Winners

Not replying to you Andrew, but that’s definitely a huge accomplishment by 1108. If other teams were able to pull off similar funding feats, it’d be outstanding for FIRST in general. I’m wondering if anyone from 1108 could relate how they secured this grant for these teams. Did they write a proposal to the foundation? How did they find out the foundation would be interested in this project? A white paper or some good pointers on how they pulled this off would surely greatly benefit the community. Are there any 1108 members around here willing to let us in on their fundraising secrets?

I will try to answer a couple question about 1108 although I can’t be 100 percent sure because of my absence over the last two years (finishing ChE senior level course, and starting into the PhD at Georgia Tech).

Kris,

The Lone Star Regional coincided with the schools spring break. This means that many of the mentors (mostly teachers) can attend the event without having to take leave. Because of this they decided to make LSR their “main” event. They still attended the Kansas City Regional but with a slimmer team, mostly consisting of the drive team. This at least was the plan as I heard it.

Just to be complete I’ll try to address some of the possible criticism from submitting the CA to a non-“home” regional.

i)The home regional is harder/The away regional is easier

The thoughts may be that either that less “quality” submission at different regional or that judges are unlikely to award the same team two years in a row.

I think both of these are false. From what I’ve seen the competition for the RCA’s is tough regardless of the regional. There are several teams at LSR that I’ve admired since 03 convinced me how cool FIRST is. The second part may have some slight truth (118 has been RCA in odd years 03, 05, 07), but reading the list of current RCA winner with multiple awards shows teams with 2,3,4, and 5 awards at a single regional in a row. While writing this I realized the second part doesn’t apply to 1108 since they competed at the Wisconsin regional in 06 (also during spring break).

ii)By competing away you are hurting the local teams

Since the RCA let a team qualify for championships, in the short run, an “outside” team may take a spot away from a local team. In the long run, competition is good (as long as it is even). This is a good point to congrats 1429 on there RCA in KC (so we had a trade this year). It is fun to see the rise of a quality team and nice robot.

Point is, we all like to compete (and win) so we all have these thoughts but I don’t have reason to believe competing outside of a “home” regional is too devious, if you have other thoughts PM me, and our unlikely submission in Texas is due to school schedules and that fact we’ve enjoyed LSR.

Kevin,

Someone with more knowledge than me would need to write the whitepage but I will tell you what I know. First I want to say that many people were involved with this outside our team. The team itself was involved in convincing Kauffman boards to fund this project through student presentation and interactions.

We first connected with the Kauffman Foundation in 2003. I’m unsure of how it exactly occurred but a Kauffman representative was at the Championships in Houston and visited our pit area. My memory is blurry but I think he may have had a nephew/niece competing on a team. I also think he had seen an article on our team in one of the local papers (maybe about our successes at LSR in 2003). I don’t think any big ideas happened then but it got a dialogue going. It help us get a 5,000 grant from the Young Advisory Board to help fund our team for the following year. The students did a presentation to the YAB (a board of local KC area high school student which allocate smaller grants for Kauffman) as part of this grant proposal.

This is my recall for how the partnership with our team was started. After this point I was more absent to the off-season working of the team so my recall is very poor so I will stop. I’ll have to try to find another person to continue the story.

Just read through to the end of your post. The Toltechs posted their CA entry here in the white papers before the competition. It was very cool to win the Engineering Inspirations Award in the Bayou Regional. The CA team spend both Fri and Sat morning in the pit to give a thorough explanation of what we have been doing for two plus years to increase the number of schools doing something type of robotics activities.

Kris,

Good question. Our answer is that it was purely a matter of logistics. Last year we ventured out to attend multiple regionals for our first time. Our 1st one was at the Bayou, so we presented there. This year our 1st regional was in Kansas City, so we presented there. This left the second regional for us to focus mainly on the robot competition. We feel that by doing this, not only does it give our presentors a more diverse environment, but also allows us to concentrate on both parts of the competition a different times.

Paul

This year’s chairman’s Award winners,

The winners from out of state are,
1108 from Kansas won LSR (texas)
1429 from Texas won KC (kansas)
116 from Virginia won NYC
612 from Virginia won OH
126 from MA won NH
1318 from WA won OR
932 from OK won MO
364 from MS won LA

Thanks for your responses, Paul and Nelson. That sheds some light on the subject. I knew that 1108 wasn’t shopping around for weak Chairman’s competition at regionals, and if they were, they were doing a bad job - LSR has some excellent teams in this area - especially and most recently 922 from Laredo which won in 2006 and 2007, and was recognized for their efforts at the Championship with a Judge’s award.

It also counters what I would consider the biggest immediate benefit in having a “home” regional and competing there for chairmans, which is the ability of family and friends of the team to make it out to see your team win the highest award in FIRST.

My greater question, I guess, is this:

Is there any long-term benefit to having a “home” regional? Does the term even mean anything? And if there is a benefit, how do we maximize it?

I know that personally, after having gone to the LSR for 8 years now, I know people on most of the veteran teams, and it feels a little bit like a family reunion every year. What do you all think? Is there more to a home regional than this feeling or not?

I do believe in a ‘home’ regional. We look forward to LSR each and every year, and will continue to do so. We make sure that IT is the final regional that we attend. I’m like you, I too look forward to seeing the other teams that I have come to know and their members.

I guess our view might be slightly different than some, in that our ‘home’ regional is the one where we want to make the most impact in the robot competition. Since there are three days of robotic competition, this is where our main focus will be.

Hopefully FIRST and the NCAA don’t move things around too much year to year as I consider LSR as our home regional. It was an interesting less connected regional experience to attend a second regional for the first time this year. It was cool to see and compete again with teams from the LSR at the Bayou event but the entire three days was more like staying over at a friends house for the first time. … Until the primary elections and STATE testing process got crossed, we had intended to compete in a week two event so that we could have a stronger showing at the LSR. I was also considering shopping for a weaker CA event in Kansas City thinking that with the number of new teams that a veteran team might have an edge with more years of outreach…Seeming to have broken through a bit in New Orleans maybe I don’t need to think in those terms.

Interesting - I hadn’t considered that. But I think I see where it’s coming from. The idea that FIRST has national goals in changing the culture, and that is a goal for every team, especially those that compete in the CA competition.

The CA, however, is not really a head-to-head competition, in the sense that you don’t really get to see who it is precisely that you’re competing with. Since there’s an opportunity cost associated with competing effectively in CA, especially for small teams, you’d rather compete face-to-face with the people you know (home regional teams) in the robot competition than compete behind closed doors in the CA.

The Lone Star Regional was great!
For our first year, we did pretty good.
It was definetly not what we expected.
thanx guys.
team 2582 PantherBots