The FRC season “officially” begins each year with a local Kickoff Event on a Saturday in January announcing the game challenge for the year and marking the beginning of the design and build season. The 107 local Kickoffs scheduled across the United States and in Australia, Canada, Mexico and Israel give teams the opportunity to compare notes, get ideas, make friends, find mentoring teams, learn the game, pick up their Kit of Parts and get geared up for the exciting competition season! Illinois is home to two Kickoff events, one at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago and one at Bradley University in Peoria. After the Kickoff, teams will have 6 weeks to design, build and program a robot (up to 5 feet tall and 120 pounds) to complete the game challenge tasks, both independent of direct driver control and with the use of a wireless control. In February, on the universal “Stop Build Day”, the team’s robot is “bagged and tagged” - not to be opened until the first day of the competition for which they have registered.
In 2017 starting at the end of February, more than 140 Regional and District competition events will be taking place not only in the United States, but also in Canada, Israel, Mexico and Australia culminating in the World Championship event which takes place in two places, Houston, TX April 19-22 and St. Louis April 26-29, 2017. FRC Regional Competitions are unique high-tech spectator sporting events. They are part rock concert with visual screens, music, dancing and outrageous costumes; part NASCAR with the “pits”, the machines and sponsor names on robots; and part Broadway, with lights, set, orchestration, and choreography, combining to produce a well-rehearsed show and a grand finale of awards /celebration.
“When I walked into this stadium, it was like walking into the greatest sporting event –
a Super Bowl, an All-Star game, a World Series game. And it’s better than that, because
we’re with truly the best talent in this country.” – Jim Clark, President and CEO of Boys &
Girls Clubs of America at 2012 World Championship.
In 2018, we invite you to experience the excitement and join us at one of our two regionals in Illinois:
During the off-season, FIRST FRC teams throughout Illinois) actively engage in a variety of events. Many teams compete in Off-Season Competitions ranging from small, local events to large tournaments. FRC teams also participate in demonstrations such as the Museum of Science and Industry’s Robot Block Party, the International Manufacturing Technology Show held at McCormick Place, university sponsored STEM Fests, Peoria Riverfront Museum RoboFest, local fairs and festivals - teams even demonstrate their robots at the Taste of Chicago! Educational workshops and challenges are often held, hosted either by teams or by corporate sponsors, covering a variety of topics and creating camaraderie among teams. In addition, many FRC teams or members become event volunteers and/or mentors for FIRST LEGO League or FIRST Tech Challenge teams during their competitive seasons.
This year's exciting game features steam punk robots defeating collecting fuel and scoring by feeding the boiler for the alliance airship. For more details on this year's game - FIRST STEAMWORKSSM, go to the Robot Challenge page or watch the Game Animation.
40 and 52 teams will travel to Peoria and Chicago respectively for international, intense, three-day events showcasing robots developed and operated by teams of high school students. Teams receive awards not only for their robot’s performance, but also for their prowess in such areas as excellence in design, team spirit, business plan creation, gracious professionalism, etc. The Central Illinois Regional and the Midwest Regional are open to the public and admission is free!
April 19-22, 2017 George R. Brown Convention Center Houston, TX
April 26-29, 2017 · Edward Jones Dome · St. Louis, MO
Winning FRC teams from each regional and district competition have the opportunity to compete against the top teams from around the world during the FIRST World Championship event. In 2015, nine Illinois FRC teams were among six hundred teams from the United States, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Dominican Republic, England, Israel, Mexico and the Netherlands who traveled to St. Louis in hope of being crowned World Champion.
FRC is about more than the mechanics of building a robot or winning a competition during the official season. FRC teams participate and are involved in many off-season activities from competition events and challenges to robot demonstrations, from participating in educational workshops to mentoring younger students in robotics, from team fundraising projects to community service or charitable projects. The FRC experience is truly a year-round one, which engages students in positive ways, and helps them to develop critical life-skills.