2011 VEX Robotics World Championship: Wrap-Up

Geek Culture

Kari Byron at the 2011 VEX Robotics Competition World Championship. Photo by Steven Rainwater

It’s been a week since I flew home from Orlando and I can finally say that I am caught up on sleep. Recovery takes longer each year but the event has also grown significantly so I can’t blame it all on my age. Next year’s championship is in Anaheim, CA, and will undoubtedly prove to be even bigger than this year. I don’t think anyone has started planning yet, but won’t be surprised to see over 600 teams there.

The finals and closing ceremonies were spectacular with lots of cool lasers, lights, and indoor fireworks. Kari Byron helped unveil the new game, Gateway, and MC’d for most of the awards. The first recipients of the Boy Scouts of America Robotics Merit Badge were awarded their badges on stage with Kari. I think she was as excited to be there as the scouts were.

Once again I’m very proud to be a small part of the team that makes this event possible. Over 570 teams, 600 robots, nearly 10,000 students, and over 1,600 competition matches combined to make one amazing week. Many thanks and congratulations to my friends and coworkers at VEX Robotics for an awesome event.

I think Joe Astroth said it best in his blog post about the VEX World Championships: “We should make a practice of giving our math and science stars the same level of recognition we award our sports stars.” I believe, as Joe does, that it is imperative for the future of this country that we encourage students to consider a career in science, technology, engineering, or math. I’m not saying everyone can, or should do so, only that those who are capable should be given every opportunity available.

And in closing, I leave you with a link to John V-Neun’s reflections on the VEX Robotics World Championship. John is the Director of Product Development for VEX and someone whom I respect greatly. His dedication to both VEX and FIRST Robotics is unending and an inspiration to many.

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