November 20, 2016

Prior Lake Robotics 2016 Minne Mini Tournament

Prior Lake Robotics 2016 Minne Mini Tournament
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for November 20, 2016

On Wednesday night, we had the opportunity to see a sneak peek of the movie, Edge of 17.  I thought it was great.  It stars Hailee Steinfeld in a coming of age tale.  It really moved me and allowed me to get back in touch with the 17 year old girl that lives inside of me.  So that was nice.

I came home from work on Thursday night to find Miss Sheri high up on the roof hanging Christmas lights.  There was supposed to be a blizzard coming on Friday so she wanted to get it done before it got too slick up there.

This weekend brought us the 2016 Minne Mini Tournament for Prior Lake Robotics.  The event gets about 2000 visitors to come watch some exciting robot on robot action.

The tournament has 36 teams from around the state of Minnesota come to Prior Lake High School to compete in last year's First Robotics Challenge.  It's a nice way for the younger kids to get experience in participating in an actual tournament to help them prepare for the 2017 game which will be announced in early January.

Our high school team is KING TeC #2169 and they have had a very successful run over the years at competing in various tournaments.  These matches are a lot of fun to watch.

Avery is head of programming this year so it's his responsibility to make sure the robot responds to the commands given by the drive team.  It's usually pretty stressful getting the robot ready on the night before a tournament.

Avery also taught a couple of classes in Java programming  to students from the other teams before the tournament began.  He's taught these classes before, but it was my first opportunity to be a  student in one of them which I really enjoyed.  The content was all way over my head, but Avery certainly seemed to know what he was talking about.  I guess I'll probably never know for sure.

At the same time as the high school FRC tournament was happening, we also hosted a tournament for the First Lego League elementary school teams.

Luke is the captain of the Jr. FLL team which mainly consists of him recruiting and managing various volunteers from the high school team to help mentor the younger kids.  He and Avery spent most of their day acting as judges for the FLL tournament.

Prior Lake Robotics currently supports more than 350 kids in 5 different robotics programs stretching from kindergarten through the 12th grade.   It's an incredible program.

The best part of the tournament for us is that we get to hang out with a lot of really cool parents!

It takes a lot of volunteer hours to put together a tournament like this and these ladies put in a ton of effort to make it a success.

It ends up being a pretty long weekend, but it's good that we get to do it with a bunch of fun people.

We're pretty lucky to be in a school district that supports robotics as much as ours does.  This is the principal of one of our local elementary schools, the principal of the high school, our head coach, Mike Lins, the superintendent of schools, and a school board member who all came to the tournament to show their support.  We sure appreciate all that they do for us.

We also had Tony Albright stop by who is a recently re-elected member of the Minnesota House of Representatives and a friend of Prior Lake Robotics.  Thanks, Tony!

After the tournament, we went to our friends the Zitzewitzes for a Beer Tasting party.  We tried all sorts of interesting flavors.

This was one of my favorite beers.  I discovered that I'm pretty much an IPA guy and not too big of a fan of the stouts and porters.  I also learned that some of the IPAs are just like bunny rabbits on cocaine.  Pretty Hoppy.

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