Question: What was the first FIRST competition you attended?

Just like this title says, this is just a quick question…

What was the first FIRST competition you ever attended?
Can you remember much from it? If so… share a quick story about your experience, or about what happened.

I figure, we might get some interesting stories out of this one.

I remember first time when I started my journey for FIRST. Epcot, Nationals… we leave for orlando… first time ever i walk into a FIRST environment. all the cheering, gracious professionalism, robotics in action got me hooked up ever since. Personally, FIRST is the best thing that has ever happened to me and there is no way i will be willing to give up FIRST. :slight_smile:

I’ll go first…

The first event I ever attended, was the Long Island Regional in 2000.

It was a fun event, I remember in particular seeing a team from Texas (55 - Texas Torque), and a team from Puerto Rico (15 - Coqui Power) and realizing “Wow… FIRST is everywhere!” These 2 teams had 2 of the best robots at the event. At the time, I was awed. It was cool to compete against them (we had matches against both). It was discouraging to be beaten by them (they had REALLY beautiful machines), but at the same time it inspired us to try harder.

I remember thinking to myself:
“Next year, I want to be better.”

That regional was a “close but no cigar” experience for me.
We ended up catching fire in the finals, and losing to the “Texas Alliance”.
It was incredible to take the silver, but it left us wanting gold.

Every student on that team was inspired to try harder in 2001.

I was hooked. I’ve thrown myself into FIRST, and never looked back.


My first regional attendence was the Kennedy Space Center Regional. We went through some tough competition against the likes of Demolition Squad (still in love with that 2000 bot), Baxter Bomb Squad, Coqui Power, Metal-In-Motion (their first Regional ever), and a host of other great teams (Big Jimmy =)).

We were second to Metal-In-Motion until the final day where we took 1st seed away from them and chose BBS as our partners (Baxter Alliance). We went on to win over the second seed alliance of Metal-In-Motion and Demolition Squad even though we took a beating in the process.

Leaving with the gold was really cool, but it really changed my perspective about this competition. Originally, I thought this was an excuse to miss a four days of school. After that I couldn’t get enough and wanted to be much more involved.

The first event that I actually attended was the 2004 VCU regional. I didn’t join the robotics team for my first few years of high school, cause my brother was on the team and I couldn’t stand to do anything with him. So I got around to joining the team my senior year. Though I will admit that I was interested in the team while I wasn’t on it and looked at some of the games when my brother was working with the team.

My first FIRST event was the SCRRF Pre-Ship Scrimmage at Chatsworth HS on the Sunday before ship in 2002. The Wednesday, and Thursday and Friday, before, we had a ton of drivetrain problems most remembered by our lead engineer saying “What is all the cr*p in those gears!” The Saturday before, we started working at about 8AM and we worked late into the night and into the early morning. I remember using a giant single speed electric drill (that thing was a monster) at about 3:00 AM Sunday to cut treads in our tires. I would start cutting a groove in the tread and then all of a sudden it was done cutting but for some reason the drill was still running. I had fallen asleep with a running drill in my hand. :ahh: And then we needed to mount the rotating light. So we measured it three times to make sure it was just right, then we drill the holes and go to mount it and the hole is like an entire inch and a half off. :smiley: During this Saturday night, even our teacher had gone to sleep under a table. We were all so exhausted. So here it is 7:00 AM on Sunday. Our guy with the van rolls up and we load the robot in. He goes off to the scrimmage and I go home to eat and get like 5 mins of sleep. Well, that 5 mins ended up to be about 40. Anyway, after that, I went out to the event. When I got there I was surpirsed to see the rest of my team just standing around. I asked if we had a match coming up. They said no. I asked if they played a match. They said yes. I asked how it went, and they told me the gears had stripped and we were done. None of us knew what to do. We had spent all build period designing this Chia+drill drivetrain and all week working the bugs out and in our first match the gears strip. It turns out that they were pulling two goals and once (which we knew we could do fine) and then tried to turn (which disintegrated the drivetrain).

So there we were in the pit with a broken robot we could not fix. Seeing we needed some help, some random gentleman comes over offering his assistance. We told him the situation, and he took a look at our robot. He asked what was wrong and we told hime the gears stripped. He asked if it made any noise and we said yes, a very loud noise. They he asks, “was it a clicking noise or a clacking noise” we all just turn to each other and burst into laughter. It was like, “what’s the difference” and “what difference does it make, our robot is broken”. Anyway, it turns out that this guy was Doug Hogg (team 980) and to this day he has been one of the most helpful people to our team (like offering spare drill motors in 2004 LA regional when no one was at the spare parts table).

So, back to our 2002 robot. We left the scrimmage early and returned to our shop. We tried to find replacement gears out of a stronger material but had no success. So, we ended up pulling the chias and running with just the drills. Then we had all sorts of drill clutch problems. We did not have a reliably running robot until midnight. I woke up at 8AM on saturday and worked straight through until midnight on Sunday. 40 hours straight. And that was my first year on the team.

Anyway, in the entire LA regional, we finally had no problems whatsoever with the drivetrain, and performed minimal maintanance on the rest. We mostly sat in the pit with our feet up on the robot watching all the other teams scurry to fix their broken machines. We were finally rewarded for all that time we put in per-ship.

My first FIRST event was the 2002 Pacific Northwest regional. It was the first one and it was in Seattle. But I think that was the best payoff for the build season before. We were next to a team from Brazil who actually won the event. I think competitions are the most fulfilling way to end the build.

My first competition was the UTC New England Regional in 2001. At the closing ceremony on Friday, my team (177) was announced as the winners of the GM Industrial Design Award. I can remember being so excited to go up on stage and shake hands with both Dean and Woodie (Dean came Friday and Saturday and Woodie was the field announcer). On Saturday, we finished somewhere around 9th in the seeding rounds and was picked in the first round of alliance selection by the 3rd place team (team 126), and ended up winning the regional (along with teams 69, 175 and 501). After the closing ceremonies, Dean was just hanging out on the stage talking to students and a few reporters, most of them asking about Ginger/It. I remember one student in particular telling him “I can keep a secret” to which Dean replied “So can I”.
I can remember feeling kind of disappointed the next year when neither Dean or Woodie came, but I guess they can’t be everywhere at once…yet.

2003 Buckeye Regional. I remember it all considering it was only a year and a half ago. The moments that stand out are 1. Not having spirit the first day because we were dead from waking up at 4:00 am for the bus ride 2. Getting yelled at for being dead at the competition 3. Being really crazy the next day and: a. Starting “the wave” b. Cheering for Team Rush after we were eliminated, and having them go on to win and c. Learning the spirit award was not given out on Saturday! :smiley:

Can’t forget Loosing because Chief Delphi forgot to ziptie their battery, causing their machine to loose power mid-match. That didn’t really matter, though, because we had a good time.

The inaguaral 2002 Buckeye regional. It was as spectacular and as exciting as any sporting event I had ever attended (and I attended quite a few) and I have been hooked ever since (and I didn’t even like the 2002 game much, plus I also found out I enjoyed the regional than I did the championship event at Epcot which was too hot, too far spread out and also that nasty ref on the middle field who kept disqualifyig everyone.he snapped at us and told us if we didn’t sit down RIGHT NOW he was going to disqualify us).
We also met 229 at Buckeye and they were nice folks(shared some cookies that were very good). :smiley:

My first FIRST event was the 2004 Great Lakes regional. I spent practice day collecting pins and friday and saturday working in the pits.

My first FIRST competition (hahahaha…) was the 2003 Chesapeake Regional. I had hardly slept the night before, I was so excited. The guys were kind of shocked at my enthusiasm, but they really understood, considering they knew what it was like for their first FIRST competition.
That day was amazing…the weather was decent, the sun shining, and the robots thriving. I remember meeting a lot of teams there and some people from FIRST. I had met Steve Shade at 2003 Kickoff, but he was at the competition so we talked more then, and I met Majdi Mukhar there as well. I still keep in touch with a few teams I met there that I hadn’t seen in a while, which is good.
At any rate, that day just was one of the best days in FIRST of my life. I hope to never forget any of it.

My first competition was the 2000 UTC Regional:

>It was a lazy Saturday morning and I was sitting on the couch watching some cartoons. My Dad stepped into the room…

Dad: Hey erin, you seem bored. My company is sponsoring a robotics competition at the Meadows (I heard ‘at Longmeadow’) and I’m going to go check it out later. Wanna come?

Me: No.

(2 hours later)

Dad: I’m going to head out now, you sure you don’t wanna come?

Me: Ehhh, I dunno. Fine, I guess I’ll go.

>We start heading south on the I-91, this confused me.

Me: Aren’t we going to Longmeadow?
(I thought this robotics thing was some lame shin-dig in a gym)

Dad: No, it’s at The Meadow’s music theater in Hartford.

Me: Ohhhhh (thinking ‘now this is really cool then’)

>We arrived at the Meadows and I stepped into the venue, woah! The lights, the music, the robots, the excitement, the costumes, the people… I was hooked immediately! I knew this was a club that I was going to do next year. I proceeded to talk to Dr. Flush on Buzz (my town’s team) and he convinced me further that I should join.

Thanks Dad! :slight_smile:

My first was the 2003 Buckeye Regional. A few of the older students went down early to set up pit so by the time everybody got to Cleveland, everything was set up. All I remember saying was, “WHOA.” It all looked so intense! We went for a team dinner that night, which was fun, except for the fact that this odd guy who said he just got out of jail approached us on the way home. When we got to the hotel, my coffee pot got hijacked. Oh well… The next two days were fun, because I was in the pits the whole time working with the drive train and talking to judges. Complete adrenaline rush! And we got to the quarterfinals and received the Xerox Creativity award :slight_smile:

MY first competition was the 2003 Fall Fury…my first regional was last year at manchester…all i can say awas it was amazing…the fall fury gave me a chance to drive, and meet some really awesome people :wink:

the manchester regional got me hooked for life…it gave me a chance to drive, and plus, i ended up on the front page of the newspaper :smiley:

My first competition was the 2004 UTC regional at the meadows. Our first match we flipped over.That was discouraging, as we ended up losing the match because of the penalty that we got for falling out of there. I remember thinking how we had all worked so hard, and it really didn’t seem fair. The rest of the first day of UTC was on/off, meaning we lost when we had our arm on and we won when it was off. The entertainment at night, particularly the hypnotist, was very entertaining. The second day we had the arm off permanently, and went 2 and 1 in the morning. We got selected to be in the fourth ranked alliance, but we lost in the quarterfinals. It didn’t matter though, the thrill of the competition had me hooked.

My first event was the 2000 Midwest Regional.

I had spent the entire season merely observing our team in action - throughout the build and into the competition season. I was a VERY green teacher mentor (the only one on the team) and just wanted to see what this whole FIRST thing was all about. Being a rookie on the team, I didn’t want to mess anything up either!

Along comes the Midwest Regional and I am thrown directly from the realm of “see what FIRST is” to the “experience what FIRST is.” What an overwhelming experience! I remember some awesome robots like CD and their swerve drive. I could not fathom a robot moving so quickly and effortlessly to the other side of the field, pick up 6 balls and deposit them in the trough! WOW! I also remember the Technokats and Wildstang - the best teams seem to stand out in your mind. So elegant and functional!

My most memorable competition experience from that first year was the championship finals at Epcot. Team 25 had an amazing robot that had the ability to steal balls from their opponents trough and put it in theirs. I realized then that game strategy is EVERYTHING! Some incredible, down-to-the-wire matches!

The rest is history and here I am today - still hooked!


My first competition was the River Rage competition at the end of the 2000 season. I got to look around my soon to be teams pit and was wicked excited about everything. I’ve been hooked ever since.


my first competition thanks to my big bro who joined s.p.a.m.

my mom and dad wanted to go and i did to0 a bit cause i saw them building the bot and all looked like tons of fun-- so my first competition was 2000 i was in 7th grade --we went to KSC --got up that saturday morning and drove up-- sat in the blenchers and well just joined s.p.a.m. in cheering while trying to do my vocab hw for mrs. clark’s class-- i never seem to be able to avoid hw-- but it was way fun and it started to rain a bit but thats alright – i was hooked forever

thanks michael for everything as usual :slight_smile:

Palmetto. 2004, although that’s pretty easy to figure since there’s only been one of them. :smiley: