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January 15, 2013

A VEX-ing Day: CHS Robotics team hosts tourney



Paul Bickford, one of the judges for the event, is a member of the VEX Advisory Board and has traveled to world competitions. Bickford works with other judges as he guides them through the tournament process.
“Students competing have the opportunity to earn a trip to world where the competing teams are very serious about robotics,” said Bickford. “The reason we have an advisory board is because we’re trying to build a platform for America to be competitive and that’s where this can lead to.
Bickford said the competition is made up of 416 teams from 16 different countries. 
“Last year, China had a fifth grade team that beat every high school and college team in programming skills, with the highest scoring robots and highest skilled driver. We as Americans need to wake up because that is who we’re competing against and it’s scary,” he said.
Oklahoma is allowed eight bids for the world tournament. Bids are based on overall population of the state.
Like other sports, VEX tournaments can help students and participators build life-long skills.
“Robotic competitions teach students professionalism and how to be a good sport,” said Judge Zach Cole. “I’ve never heard a negative comment from the crowd or another team. The enthusiasm is amazing.”
VEX advisory member and Tahlequah Sequoyah coach Jacob Tanner said he sees the comradery and teamwork that he looks for as a coach, without the drama.
“No daddy gets mad because their son or daughter isn’t driving the robot,” said Tanner. “Compared to athletic sports, the competition doesn’t change in the individual, just the stage he or she competes in.”

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