Starting another FIM Off-season event

The university I go to (Ferris State University, in Big Rapids, MI) is looking to host an offseason event this coming fall(September-ish), mid-September range. We know Kettering kickoff is close to that and are planning around their offseason event so the two events do not overlap. What are some things that you prefer to have at an offseason event? and what are some things you would like to see changed?

Depending on your audience and available teams. Two offseason events I’d use to gauge the level of your competition would be (A) Indiana Robotics Invitational, which is considered to be the unofficial end-all for which teams are the best in the world, and a local one to me (Midland, MI) called Bot Bash that consists of local teams and allows sub-teams.

IRI usually follows the rules changed for FIRST Champs, and consists of 67-70 carefully selected power teams, to dictate the best of the best. Bot Bash has around 14-16 local teams a year hosted by Dow High that allows for incoming members to get a taste of the real thing, and is just for good fun.

Keep in mind, it’s not cheap to host an FRC field, and you need to hire the respective field hands as well as pay for many minor fees, such as extra power (generator) for pits if you have a larger quantity of teams, floor surface protection, etc.

Depends on how big you expect the event to be. Kettering Kickoff is week 0. I feel that if Michigan would make great use of a large offseason event similar to IRI; Ferris is a great location if it weren’t for SVSU and Kettering.

Some good stuff would be booths for Ferris and any other colleges, and support for teams close to you. If you want to get people’s attention, Kettering’s structure is a great skeleton to add muscle to for developing a FIRST robotics-engaged college program. Don’t forget FTC/FLL if you plan on pursuing this route.

Being on the planning committee for Bot Bash, I can say that our goal was to be that “large off-season event similar to IRI”, but getting teams to actually sign up is harder than you might think. As a practical matter we’ve always limited our event to around 30 teams (though we have yet to hit this number) but since we also host District Competitions at the same venue there’s no reason we couldn’t go up to 40 teams if the demand was there. As it stands now we offer teams a “Register one robot get the second one free” so that teams with practice bots can bring those along to help fill open slots.

Btw, Bot Bash will be on October 14th this year, registration details coming soon. :rolleyes:

Separate from Kettering Kickoff and Bot Bash, there is also MARC down in Monroe Michigan which from what I hear has become it’s own sort of “IRI North” in recent years. It’s also in the Summer so it doesn’t conflict with many other events and team members won’t have to get out of class to attend.

I think you might be confusing “Kettering Kickoff” for the “FIRST Kickoff at Kettering” or the Kettering Week 0 Scrimmage. Kettering Hosts an off-season event, usually at the end of September for about 40 teams.

I would argue that MARC at Monroe High School is comparable to IRI in terms of competitiveness. Many teams train drivers during qualification matches, and put their regular season drivers in for playoff matches.
Edit: sniped!

On that note, What things do you want to see out of an off-season event, by that I mean what would make you want to bring your team to FSU for an event?

Personally, Big Rapids as a whole is a pretty boring place to drive to and from, and some incentive like lower admission or something, then some sort of celebration/party event to top it off. Music maybe? Idk.

I feel stupid replying the way I did, seeing that there was a panel discussing it prior. Can’t help beyond the basics :frowning:


Since you will most likely be drawing from teams from the west side of the state. Other events happening during that time are the Grand Rapids Girls competition on October 7 at the Wyoming High School, and usually October 28 for WMRI. I have attached a filer for the girls competition. I am sure your event would draw from the same teams that attend these events to come to your Big Rapids event. I do think there are enough teams that another off-season west side event could be supported.

2017 Grand Rapids Girls Flyer(with Deans Award Info).pdf (870 KB)

2017 Grand Rapids Girls Flyer(with Deans Award Info).pdf (870 KB)