For the first time in fifteen years, the Boba Bots qualified for the World Championships in Houston! Though the team could not have been more excited or the trip, from logistics to funding, there was much that needed to be done. Thankfully, with the help of GrowingSTEMs, the team was able to set up a GoFundMe to crowdfund costs of the trip. The Iron Panthers, a neighboring team, also chipped in, helping the Boba Bots put together a crate to ship Boba FET to Houston. This amazing opportunity led thirty students and more than fifteen mentors, parents, and alumni to pack their bags and head to Texas.
This four-day event, held at the George R. Brown Convention Center, was by far the largest event that the team had ever attended. While most of our regional competitions only consisted of 30-60 teams, there were more than 400 teams at the Houston Championships. Each team had their own 10′ x 10′ work area, also known as their “pit.” All the pits were placed together on one side of the convention center, allowing the Boba Bots to visit teams from around the world.
While the competition was the obvious focus of the trip, there were also many other attractions at the event. Many members explored the Innovation Faire, which showcased new technology demonstrations and other hands-on activities from the FIRST Championship sponsors. Some members left the world of the FIRST Robotics Competition to visit the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) and FIRST Lego League (FLL) events.
The Boba Bots were put in the Newton Division along with 66 other teams. After many close games and two matches lost only by a one-point difference, the team ended with a record of 5-5-0, ranking 31st. Although the team did not make past the qualification matches, the Boba Bots were ecstatic to see the Iron Panthers get chosen for an alliance. These four teams from California became the winning alliance of the Newton division, and later continued to win the overall championship!
Even though the Boba Bots didn’t compete in the elimination matches, the team had an amazing time. A climbing mechanism was added to Boba FET, allowing the robot to climb for extra points at the end of matches. The team also had their last Boba Friday with the 2019 graduates. By the end of the event, the PR department even sold out of the new Boba Bot merch, which included more than fifty t-shirts, hoodies, and boba plushes!
The Houston Championship was an unforgettable event, but it was only possible with the help of our donors and sponsors, as well as the assistance of our loving parents and mentors. Again, the Boba Bots would like to thank all of our supporters, for, without them, these experiences would be impossible!