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Carbon hosts FIRST Lego League state qualifier at school district

Team Rockin Robots react to their win at the Jan. 4 FIRST Lego League state qualifier at the Carbon School District Offices in Price.
Team Mont Harmon Robotics compete in on the Nature's Fury board at the Jan. 4 FIRST Lego League state qualifier. This competition is the culmination of months of work and dedication. Each team begins building their robot in September, working toward this single event.
This year's competitors rejoice together following the trophy presentations at the Jan. 4 event. While several trophies were given in multiple categories, only one team, Rockin Robots, will be moving forward to the state competition at the University of Utah.

Sun Advocate associate editor

For the third year running, the Carbon School District hosted a qualifier for the state's First Lego League Competition, bringing parents, grandparents and kids of all ages got together at the Carbon District School District Offices looking to crown a local winner.

Rockin Robots from Intermountain Electronics came out on top at the Jan. 4 competition, capping a day of excitement and learning created to lead kids from around the state toward a career in science.

The Rockin Robots team was comprised of Rayden Andrews, 13; Jacob Williams, 10; Andie Curtis, 11; Lily Vigil, 12; Sam Blackburn, 10 and Eli Snow, 10. They were coached by Ken Williams, Justin Vigil, Josh Erramouspe

According to Thad Kelling, Spokesperson for Utah FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Lego League, there are 14 qualifiers across the state, the winners of which advance to the Utah championships at the University of Utah.

Those interested in the competition are charged with building competition robots from a stock computer and all the Lego pieces they would like.

"They start with a brick, which is just jargon for the brain of the computer that will run the robot," said Kelling. "Their season begins in September and they start working on their robot at that point."

The kids competing in this competition will be using Lego's Mind Storm kits as the central computer for their robots. They will then take some stock pieces and whatever they want as long as they are Lego, building a custom robot, said Kelling.

The competitions are set up to be creative and fun with the competition including various components. A team's robot must be built to accomplish certain tasks on a playing field, a field which changes every year.

The Jan. 4 competition has been titled the Nature's Fury Challenge with over 200,000 children ages 9 to 14 from over 70 countries exploring awe-inspiring storms, quakes, waves and more. Teams will discover what can be done when intense natural events meet the places people live, work and play.

"We hook the kids up with the robots and then try to teach them more than they every thought they were going to learn from the competition," said Kelling. "That's the trick here, we are trying to inspire the kids to work toward a career or profession. Because of these events, they become much more prepared for science careers in a holistic way."

At the Carbon competition, eight teams from Carbon, Emery, Uintah and Grand counties competed in a large range of events from Robot design, programing and strategy as well as innovation and performance. They also are judged concerning project awards, which include innovation, research, solutions and presentation. The children also are taught core values such as sportsmanship.

In addition to Rockin Robots winning the overall title, Carbonated from Mont Harmon won the Judges Award. Team Seeley from Mont Harmon won the Core Values Award. The Robot Design Award was taken by Team Matrix from Duchesne. The Robot Performance Award went to Rockin Robots from Intermountain Electronics and the Project Award went to the Rambots from Helper Junior High. The local competition was organized and overseen by Rob Bradley from Helper.

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