Yeti 7178 at the Milford Event.

Valiant TMS Sponsors 2024 FIRST Robotics Competition and Teams

As a global leader in industrial automation, Valiant TMS recognizes the pivotal role of technology in education and in shaping the future workforce. We are pleased to announce our participation as a bronze-level sponsor at the 2024 FIRST Robotics Windsor Essex Great Lakes Event. Additionally, we’re proud to serve as a platinum-level sponsor of two teams in Canada, Belle River Boltheads 4920 and Mustangs 4903, and two teams in the US, Monsters 308 and Yetis 7178 of the Walled Lake Robotics.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a global non-profit organization that prepares young individuals for the future through inclusive, team-based robotics programs for ages 4 to 18. Since 2013, Valiant TMS has been a part of the FIRST community by offering support, mentorship, and funding for local teams and events.

 

Belle River Boltheads 4920

Run by Lee Awad, Machine Shop teacher and Technological Studies Department Head at Belle River District High School in Ontario, Canada, the Belle River Boltheads Robotics Team represents the high school and competes as First Robotics Competition (FRC) Team 4920. The team is comprised of Mechanical, Programming, and Business units, all guided by industry professionals and alumni who volunteer as mentors. With approximately 15 students who are mainly in grades 9 and 10, the team is preparing to compete in two events this year: the Humber College Event, taking place from March 18 to March 20, and the Windsor Essex Great Lakes Event, occurring from March 28 to March 30.

Belle River Boltheads 4920 team members in 2024.
Belle River Boltheads 4920 team members in 2024.

Lisa Beckstette, a volunteer mentor with experience in the Tool & Die industry, shares her journey with the team. “I became a mentor last season when my son was the team’s lead programmer. As someone who was new to FIRST Robotics, I was really amazed by what an incredible program it is. In fact, I was so impressed that I am back again this year even though my son has graduated and gone away to university.”

“Robotics not only gives the students an opportunity to learn a wide range of real-world technical and business skills, but they also learn critical thinking and soft skills as they work together to develop game strategies, compete under pressure, troubleshoot issues under time constraints, and bond as a team,” said Beckstette.

The group is eager to drive their multi-functional robot and see how it stacks up against others in the competition. According to Beckstette, their ultimate goal is to qualify for the FRC World Championship in Houston, Texas. In addition, they are excited to proudly show their team spirit with a new Bolthead mascot they’re creating.

Belle River Boltheads 4920's robot for 2024.
Belle River Boltheads 4920's robot for 2024.
“We are extremely appreciative of the support of Valiant TMS and the opportunity to build a partnership for the future. It is not easy to sustain a robotics team, as it requires significant financial resources to purchase components for the robots, register for competitions, and cover travel costs. Your sponsorship provides a great way to introduce students at an early age to the skills they will need to become engineers, programmers, CAD designers, skilled trades, and business professionals. We also hope it will be an opportunity for Valiant TMS to connect with bright-minded students for possible employment opportunities in the future,” Beckstette shares.
Belle River Robotics team members working on their robot.
Belle River Robotics team members working on their robot.
Belle River Robotics team members working on their robot.
Belle River Robotics team members working on their robot.
Belle River Robotics team members working on their robot.
Belle River Robotics team members working on their robot.

Walled Lake Robotics

Walled Lake Robotics was established in 1999 in Michigan, USA, with Monsters 308, and has been participating in the FIRST Robotics Competition every year since. In 2018, due to increased student interest, participation, and mentor support, Yeti 7178 was formed. Each team consists of Mechanical, Electrical, and Programming students who are coached by volunteered mentors.

This year, the two teams participate in the Milford Event from February 29 to March 2, and the Troy Event #1 on March 23 and March 24.

Monsters 308 Team with judges at their pit, Milford Event.
Monsters 308 Team with judges at their pit, Milford Event.
Monsters 308 robot in action, Milford Event.
Monsters 308 robot in action, Milford Event.

Patrick Ohl, coach, teacher, and district liaison for each team, emphasizes the enormous dedication required for these competitions.

“These competitions are not like any other high school competitions or really any other event that you can attend. There are 40 teams on average that compete at a district event, each consisting of dozens of students and mentors who spend countless hours working on designing, iterating, building, programming, practicing and competing, inevitably breaking and repairing — all while improving their robots,” said Ohl.

Since there are only 12 qualifying matches at each event, and each team is only guaranteed two events per season, both teams from Walled Lake Robotics are doubling down on their preparations to secure a win in this year’s FIRST Robotics Competition. “There is a feverish passion amongst the fans, and the ethos of ‘cooperation’ is on full display in the pits and on the field in this year’s game. The events are exciting, and I will say that our next competition will be very competitive, with some of the best teams in Michigan competing,” Ohl added.

According to Ohl, Yeti 7178 is currently in a solid position to qualify for the Michigan State Championship, which takes place from April 4 to April 6. Monsters 308 also still has a chance, so long as they have a good performance at the Troy Event #1.

Yeti 7178's mascot.
Yeti 7178's mascot.
Yeti 7178 at the Milford Event.
Yeti 7178 at the Milford Event.
Monsters 308 and Yeti 7178 at the Milford Event.
Monsters 308 and Yeti 7178 at the Milford Event.

Ohl expresses his profound gratitude for the collaboration with Valiant TMS. “Both teams are thankful for the sponsorship and support provided by Valiant TMS. After a somewhat disappointing showing at the FIRST in Michigan State Championship last year, I decided to make an investment in swerve drive systems for both teams this year. This decision came at a considerable cost, so the support provided by Valiant TMS this year has been critical,” Ohl stated.

 

FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Mustangs 4903

Mustangs, competing as FRC Team 4903, is a student-led robotics team from Vincent Massey Secondary School in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. The team was established in 2014 with the mission of facilitating STEAM education and creating leaders within the community. Currently, the team consists of over 100 students and 11 mentors.

The group competes in two events this year: the University of Waterloo Event from March 21 to March 23, and the Windsor Essex Great Lakes Event from March 28 to March 30.

Rebecca Chappus, a volunteer administration mentor, proudly shares her team spirit and excitement for the competition. “4903 is passionate about FIRST and all it embodies. We are most excited about coming together as a team during events to show our team spirit as well as our dedication to FIRST. Winning is always fun, but competitions bring us together as a team, win or lose,” Chappus noted.

According to Chappus, the cost to run a robotics team can vary between $10,000 to $15,000. As a result, the team is extremely thankful for Valiant TMS’s contribution. “We want to thank Valiant TMS for being a platinum sponsor of our team. Having contributors like Valiant TMS helps us reach our goals and become a successful and sustainable team. Contributors in STEM allow our students to see the diversity of opportunities in the field. It also provides the opportunity for the contributors to witness the power of FIRST and the leaders FIRST creates,” said Chappus.

FRC Mustangs 4903 finalists at 2023 FIRST Ontario Provincial Championship.
FRC Mustangs 4903 finalists at 2023 FIRST Ontario Provincial Championship.

We extend our best wishes to all participating teams in the 2024 FIRST Robotics Competition. We look forward to witnessing their innovation at this year’s events and applaud their commitment to shaping the future of technology and education.

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