Robotics Team Receive Award At KC Tournament

The Benton County 4-H Robotics Team, the “Synthesizers” attended the Inaugural FIRST Heartland Regional Robotics Tournament in Kansas City, Missouri from March 9-11.  The local team was able to place 2nd in the qualification rounds out of the 43 teams in attendance from 8 different states. Although the Synthesizers lost in the first round of playoffs, they received an award for being the highest seeded rookie at the event.  In addition, the team was named “ROOKIE ALL-STAR” at the event which landed them a spot in the World Championships in Houston, Texas April 18-21.  Our local team competed against private and public high schools, from 1A to 6A,  as well as club teams.  Some teams bolster rosters of over 100 students each specializing in a specific aspect of the competition.   “That is the beauty of this competition setup.  It simulates an actual start-up company that must thrive on all fronts in order to succeed,” shared Coach Jim Kjar of Warsaw.  Benton County Robotics (BCR) varsity team currently consists of 11 students, 9 of which participated in last week’s competition.  BCR students have had to wear many hats to pull this off, and are hoping that more students from the area will realize this incredible opportunity to learn and gain scholarships while having a great time.  There must be successful analyzing, planning, marketing, logistics, coding, CAD-ing, hands on construction and designing just to name a few of the areas where students who don’t want to “build a robot” might fit in. 
 The world championship event in April 2018, will host 402 teams including teams from the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Netherlands, Mexico, Australia, Brazil, China, Taiwan, Turkey, Italy, Israel, Dominican Republic, Croatia, India, Vietnam, France, Denmark, Colombia, Sweden, Greece, Switzerland.   The finals for the world event will be held at Minute Maid Park home of the Houston Astros.
 “To get to be a part of an actual World competition is exciting, to know that I’m on pace, or at least to know what is common knowledge among peers my age around the world is really cool.  I like knowing how I stack up on the world’s stage.  There are even online forums where former team members from around the world continue to network as they move out of college and into their fields.  The contacts you create can be really important for your future” said John Kjar.
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology.  FIRST robot competitions range from the First Lego League Competition for 6 to 10 year olds, to the FRC completion for high school students.  The “Synthesizers” had 6 weeks to design, build, and program a robot for the competition.   
In addition to the High School FIRST team, the club also fielded 2 Lego League Teams as well as a combination Junior High/High School team in another competition this past fall.  More information about the team is available on its Facebook page or by email at .  The team is currently holding a raffle in which a boat (see picture below) will be given away to one lucky winner.  The proceeds from the raffle will help pay for the entry fees, travel expenses, tools and equipment so that the group can continue to be a competitive squad.   Raffle tickets can be purchased at Jester’s bowling center or at Kjar Law Office, and when you purchase 10, you get 1 free, and your name added to the list of sponsors.