Kettering Kickoff is Sept. 21-22

Sep 14, 2012

Forty-two high school teams are competing at the 13th Annual Kettering Kickoff Robotics contest.

Robots will play spirited games of basketball at Kettering University during the 13th annual Kettering Kickoff FIRST Robotics Competition on Sept. 21-22 in Flint.

Forty-two of Michigan’s top high school robotics teams will vie for championship trophies at the two-day event in Kettering’s Recreation Center. The Kettering Kickoff is free and open to the public.

Audio invitation from FIRST Scholar Bryan Coburn

Teams begin arriving Friday afternoon for a variety of social activities and tours of Kettering’s state-of-the-art science and engineering facilities. Practice matches will begin mid-to-late afternoon. Tournament action for the 13th annual Kettering Kickoff is Saturday from 8 a.m. to around 6 p.m.

This year’s contest, called Rebound Rumble, features an action-packed game of basketball played by hand-built robots that are driven and controlled remotely by talented high school students. Rebound Rumble includes four basketball hoops and a series of bridges/ramps that the robots have to traverse to get within range for shooting colorful basketballs.

Kettering Kickoff Founder Bob Nichols said this year’s game has been among the most popular during the 20 years of FIRST Robotics contests. “How often do you get to see basketball played by robots, controlled by students and surrounded by cheering supporters?” Nichols asked, with a laugh. “Rebound Rumble doesn’t follow traditional basketball rules, but it’s fascinating to watch the robots shoot these basketballs. There is a lot of scoring, in part because the game features four nets per side.

Rebound Rumble video

“Teams can increase their score, based on where their robot shoots from,” he continued. “Then, in a timed contest, the robots have to team up to balance on three bridge/ramps. It’s one of the best designed FIRST games yet,” he added.

The Kettering Kickoff is a popular annual contest that matches the 2012 robots from FIRST Robotics with the 2013 high school teams. Nichols said the event allows teams to build skills and camaraderie before the highly competitive season begins in January. During the Kettering Kickoff, a variety of new and shiny automobiles will be on display from Patsy Lou Williamson, Applegate and Al Serra dealerships.

Returning as chair of the Kettering Kickoff Planning Committee is long-time supporter Pat Major of the Goodrich Martians and More Martians teams.

Teams competing on Sept. 22 at Kettering are:

Team 27, Team RUSH, Clarkston

Team 33, Killer Bees, Auburn Hills

Team 51, Wings of Fire, Pontiac

Team 68, Truck Town Thunder, Ortonville

Team 70, More Martians, Goodrich

Team 107, TEAM R.O.B.O.T.I.C.S, Holland

Team 226, Hammerheads, Troy

Team 302, The Dragons, Lake Orion

Team 314, Megatron Oracles, Flint

Team 468, Aftershock, Flushing

Team 494, Martians, Goodrich

Team 503, Frog Force, Novi

Team 548, Robostangs, Northville

Team 703, Team Phoenix, Saginaw

Team 862, Lightning Robotics, Canton

Team 910, Foley Freeze, Madison Heights

Team 1023, Bedford Express, Temperance

Team 1243, Dragons, Swartz Creek

Team 1322, G.R.A.Y.T. Leviathons, Fenton

Team 1506, Metal Muscle, Flint

Team 1684, Chimeras, Lapeer

Team 1701, Robocubs, Detroit

Team 2137, TORC - The Oxford RoboCats, Oxford

Team 2145, HAZMATs, Lake Fenton

Team 2337, EngiNERDS, Grand Blanc

Team 2604, Metal & Soul, Capac

Team 2612, Waterford Mott Destroyers, Waterford

Team 2619, The Charge, Midland

Team 2832, The Livonia Warriors, Livonia

Team 2834, Bionic Barons, Bloomfield Hills

Team 2960, Automation Nation, Birmingham

Team 3322, Egal Imperium, Ann Arbor

Team 3534, House of Cards, Davison

Team 3535, Galaktech Invaders, Lapeer

Team 3547, Virus, Monroe

Team 3767, Traverse City West Senior High, Traverse City

Team 3770, BlitzCreek, Midland

Team 4002, Rhombi Robotics, Royal Oak

Team 4044, Screamin’ Eagles, Capac

Team 4294, Star-TREC, Lansing

Team 4382, Trojans, Saginaw

Team 4390, ATA Coregears, Dearborn

FIRST -- For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology -- is a national effort to inspire youth to explore career possibilities in engineering, science and technology. FIRST robotics pits teams in a head-to-head competition between large radio-controlled robots built by teams of high school students and sponsoring engineers and teachers.

Almost one-third of Michigan high schools now have a FIRST robotics team as a varsity sport. Michigan and California lead in the nation with the number of active teams in their states.

For more on the Kettering Kickoff, visit:

Written by Patricia Mroczek