Students show off hand-made tech in Rockford robotics competition

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Robotics teams from all over the Stateline will be coming together on Saturday to show off their creations in the Rock River Robotics Off-Season Competition.

“My family is full of engineers so it’s kind of what we do,” said Molly Kleckner, Team Winnovation.

Registration for the competition only took three hours to fill up.

“People want to play in the summer. It’s a good time to try out new drivers. It’s another chance to play with our robots [that] we’ve invested thousands of dollars in and lots of hours,” said Karen Hill, Co Chair Rock River Robotics Off Season Planning Committee.

For high school students participating in the competition, robotics is what brings out their creativity.

“The idea of making something out of nothing and like it functioning and being impressive,” said Kleckner.

It’s not all just about engineering.

Alexis, who’s on the Flaming Monkeys Boone County 4-H Robotics team, said, “I am more drawn into the media part of our team example, as our T-shirts, our buttons, how we get out into the community and how we represent our team.”

Students don’t have to already be good at math and mechanics to join in the robotics teams.

Kleckner knows that first hand.

“My first summer they had to tell me, like, lefty-loosey, righty-tighty. That’s how screws work. And then, my second year on the team, I was the head of the fabrication department,” she said.

It’s not all fun and games. The students are also competing for scholarships to help them in the future, to hone their skills.

“This is our third year to award scholarships,” Hill said. “We have four $1,000 scholarships. Two thousand dollars is coming out of our planning committee funds and $2,000 is coming directly from the Rock Valley foundation.”

The competition is open to the public and free for those who want to watch.

It will feature 32 teams from across the Midwest, and takes place Saturday, July 27th, from 8:30 a.m to 5 p.m. at the Rock Valley College PE Center, at 3301 N Mulford Road.

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