In its first-ever competitive meet at Boulder City on Dec. 9, the Pahrump 4-H First Tech Challenge Team steered their hand-built, original design robot to victory while competing against three other teams.
Encouraged by their recent success, the team will be exhibiting their tech skills at the Las Vegas SkillCon on Saturday, Dec. 16.
The team was organized under the auspices of Southern Nye County 4-H as part of the worldwide FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) organization.
Fourteen Pahrump teens, age 13 to 15, collaborated to design and build a simple robot capable of grabbing and moving foam glyphs to earn points in a series of challenges.
This year’s theme is “Relic Recovery”, an adventure-style game in which the robot competes in autonomous and driver-controlled modes.
It took the team four months to prepare. “We weren’t sure the kids would be ready for Boulder City,” said 4-H Coordinator Stormy Ingersoll, “but they really pulled together as a team. They faced every setback and dug in to do the work.”
Ingersoll said she was proud of the win but even prouder of the way the team members cooperated to find solutions to challenges such as discovering that the guideline tape used at the Boulder City ring was an inch thinner and a different color than the one their robot was initially programmed to follow.
The Boulder City match, hosted by the Boulder City Super Bots 4-H team at the Christian Center Church, was attended by sixty people.
This is just the first step for the FIRST Tech Challenge team, whose members hope to reach the state competition at Reno in February. To that end, said Ingersoll, “they’ll be doing a lot of fundraising to be able to purchase parts and supplies, as well as to cover travel expenses.”
Pahrump FTC will be hosting a gala on Jan. 9 showcasing the FIRST organization. The semi-formal event will include hors-d’oeuvres and an auction of arts, adventure and service packages donated by community businesses.