RoboDawgs Introduce the Old Brass Boots


This weekend, the 1st annual Midwest Elite VEX Championship will be held at Grandville Middle School.  This event will bring together the top VEX Robotics teams from Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois to play for bragging rights as the Midwest Elite VEX Champion.

As we were planning for this 1st annual event, our organizers were contemplating a trophy worthy of this level of competition.  Something old and interesting that would be valued over many years as the property of that year’s winner of this regional invitational event.  The Old Brass Spittoon and the Old Oaken Bucket came to mind.  VEX events are won by alliances of two teams, so we needed two of whatever we came up with.

Team coaches and supporters searched the country, eventually coming across a pair of antique brass boots at Jon Beasley Antiques, in Cookeville, Tennessee.  More then 50 years old, these solid brass boots polished up nicely!  The boots found there way onto beautiful walnut bases, and will now live on as traveling trophies for the Midwest VEX Elite event.

Grandville Recognizes winners at 14th Annual Regional Lego League Tournament

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Grandville High School played host yesterday to Lego League teams from around the area at their 14th annual Lego League event.  Teams brought robots to play on the competition tables and they made presentations on research projects focused on challenges of cities of the future.  Student also participated in technical judging sessions and teamwork challenge.  Our award winners were: (photos of all award winners are below)

Tournament Champion – Team 20759 Snickerdoodledoo Seahorses, Oakwood Intermediate School, Allendale

Second Place Overall, Team 10401 Circuit Breakers, Oakwood Intermediate School, Allendale

Third Place Overall,  Team 11093 Bionic Bulldogs, Central Elementary School, Grandville

Fourth Place Overall, Team 24794 Holy Spirit Robotics, Holy Spirit School, Grand Rapids

Fifth Place Overall, Team 659 M.A.R.S. Mini Rovers, Community Team, Muskegon

Sixth Place Overall, Team 46993 Flying Building Iguanas, Grand Rapids Chrn Es-Iroquois, Grand Rapids

Seventh Place Overall, Team 30565 The Tech Peeps, Our Lady of Consolation School, Rockford

1st Place Robot Performance 659 M.A.R.S. Mini Rovers Team 4004 Muskegon
2nd Place Robot Performance 20759 Snickerdoodledoo Seahorses Oakwood Intermediate School Allendale

1st Place Innovative Project Solution 4040 Dozer Dawgs South Elementary School Grandville
2nd Place Innovative Project Solution 16369 Highway 7 Emmons Lake Elementary School Caledonia

1st Place Research Project Presentation 46993 Flying Building Iguanas Grand Rapids Chrn Es-Iroquois Grand Rapids
2nd Place Research Project Presentation 31068 The Animated Nebulas Lakewood Elementary School Holland
1st Place Research Quality 43864 Lego Legends Rather Elementary School Ionia
2nd Place Research Quality 43863 Waka Waka Robos Rather Elementary School Ionia

1st Place Robot Innovation & Strategy 11087 Pigeon Protectors Cummings Elementary School Grand Rapids
2nd Place Robot Innovation & Strategy 3493 That Next Team Family/Community Belmont
1st Place Robot Mechanical Design 11093 Bionic Bulldogs Central Elementary School Grandville
2nd Place Robot Mechanical Design 17468 RoboKnights Adams Christian School Jenison
1st Place Robot Programming 10401 Circuit Breakers Oakwood Intermediate School Allendale
2nd Place Robot Programming 5594 The Duck Squad Family/Community Belmont

1st Place Teamwork 24794 Holy Spirit Robotics Holy Spirit School Grand Rapids
2nd Place Teamwork 11374 Grandville Geckos South Elementary School Grandville
Inspiration Award 32529 HydroSharks Robert R Oehrli Elementary Sch Montague
Gracious Professionalism 8752 Marshmallow Workers West Elementary School Grandville

Special Award -Against All Odds 30565 The Tech Peeps Our Lady of Consolation School Rockford
Special Award -Rising Star 23750 Architecs Pine Street Elementary School Wayland
Special Award -Judges Choice 18338 Cheesy Potato street Grand View Elementary School, Grandville


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Elite VEX teams from Midwest Region come to Grandville to compete for the Old Brass Boot


On Saturday, December 14 and Sunday, December 15 many of the top High School VEX teams from around the Midwest will travel to Michigan to compete in the first Midwest Regional Elite VEX tournament.  Attendance is by invitation only, and every program invited to this inaugural event has played at the VEX World Championship.  We are very excited that this year’s teams include State Champions, Finalists, and Excellence Award winners from Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan.  This is going to be the most elite group of teams to come together outside of the World Championship.

This is an invitational, and there are no advancement slots to be awarded.  But – it’s only fitting that an interstate competition in B1G territory be played for an odd antique.  Inspired by the Old Brass Spittoon, and the Old Oaken Bucket, the two teams in the winning alliance will each carry home bragging rights – and a Old Brass Boot.  The boot will be properly engraved, and a plate attached to its base will carry the names of event winners from each year.

We searched the region, and came across this pair of old brass boots from an antique dealer in rural Kentucky.  These weighty trophies will travel with Midwest Elite Champions for years to come……

November 9, 2019 – RoboDawgs win VEX events in two states on the same day

November 9, 2019 was a day of firsts for our 22 year-old robotics program.

Today was the first day a RoboDawg team won a VEX Signature event (team 244A, Captain Jon Bargenquast). Signature events bring together the best VEX team across a region, and today five RoboDawg teams played against some of the top teams in the nation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Team 244A captained the winning alliance, beating the #1 ranked alliance captained by the team with the top Skills Challenge score in the World.

Today was the first time three RoboDawg teams (team 244A, Captain Jon Bargenquast; team 288C, Captain Josh Symonds; and team 248A, Captain Jack Cucannan) were on winning alliances at two VEX Tournaments (Indianapolis Motor Speedway Signature tournament, West Michigan Fall tournament) in two different states (Indiana and Michigan) on the same day.

Today was the first time two RoboDawg teams (team 244C, Captain Aaron Vandermate; team 244D, Captain Aiden Foley) put up Skills Challenge scores (85 and 61) placing them in the top 30 teams in the World Rankings on the same day.

Oh, and RoboDawg team 248A under Captain Jack Cucannan won the Excellence Award, VEX’s highest award, at the West Michigan Fall tournament.

This was a day for the record books.

RoboDawgs win big at Hudsonville VEX Tower Takeover Tournament

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The RoboDawgs had another great day in Hudsonville today, winning the event and bringing home the Excellence Award, Design Award, and putting up the highest Robot Skills score at the event.

Congratulations to:

Tournament Champions:  team 244A (Captain: Jonathan Bargenquast) and team 244D (Captain: Aiden Foley)

Excellence Award:  team 248E (Captain: Isabelle Buckler)

Design Award: team 288A (Captain: Owen Green)

Robot Skills Winner: team 244C (Captain: Aaron Vandermate)

RoboDawgs start the season strong at West Michigan Fall VEX Tournament (Oct 19)

Our High School RoboDawgs started regular season play yesterday, playing in the first Tower Takeover tournament of the regular season.  The RoboDawgs had played well this summer, bringing home Champion trophies from both pre-season Tower Takeover tournaments held at county fairs.

Award winners from yesterday’s event include:

Excellence Award – Team 248C  No It’s Not                       Grandville Robotics

Tournament Champions – Team 8031E   Q                          Hudsonville Robotics

Tournament Champions – Team 248C No It’s Not              Grandville Robotics

Create Award – Team 8031E Q                                                Hudsonville Robotics

Amaze Award – Team 8860B Easy as Pi                                 Hudsonville Robotics

Build Award – Team 288C Aqua Hamsters                           Grandville Robotics

Design Award – Team 8031C Fix-It-Felix                                Hudsonville Robotics

Tournament Finalists – Team 244D The A Team                  Grandville Robotics

Tournament Finalists – Team 244C Just Act Natural           Grandville Robotics

Robot Skills Champion – Team 244C Just Act Natural         Grandville Robotics

Sponsors needed for Grandville Middle School VEX teams

Seven years ago, the first Grandville Middle School VEX teams played in a tournament.   for the first time.  At that event, the Grandville Autodesk VEX Qualifier, our best team won the Excellence Award – the top award at a VEX event.  Since that first event, our MIddle School teams have a rich history of success.  This program has grown stronger as we have had our teams build at our centralized Robotics Center and it two of the last four years Grandville Middle School teams have been State Champions (216A in 2015 and 216F in 208).

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GMS Team 216A – TIDBIT, with the two top awards from the State of Michigan Championship.

This program is funded each year through the donations of generous sponsors like you.  All our teams have moved to the newest VEX hardware, the V5 Robot Brain, the new V5 controller, and eight mated V5 motors.  These teams are not inexpensive, with the first year cost for a new Middle School team totaling just over $1.800.  We spend, on average, $1,000 to support each returning team.

We need sponsors to support our teams.  Detailed sponsorship information is included at the bottom of this post, along with a link for those who want to contribute online.  But first, a little about this year’s VEX Tower Takeover Challenge

Every year, the Robotics Competition and Education Foundation releases a new VEX EDR challenge.  This year, our teams will play Tower Takeover, which is played on a 12’x12’ square field.  Two team alliances capture and score the 66 large Cubes on the Tower Takeover Field. They battle with an opposing alliance, making tall stacks of these Cubes in scoring zones and battling for control of seven Tower Goals.  Teams score based on the number of Cubes of a given color are stacking in their scoring zones and scored in the Tower Goals.  Every time Cubes are scored in or removed from Tower Goals, the value of ALL cubes on the field changes. So the actions of one Robot impacts the potential score for both their own alliance, and their opponents.

Our Grandville Middle School teams will compete in several times this season, and you can see them at events including:

November 2 – Hudsonville VEX Tournament

November 9 – West Michigan Middle School VEX Tournament

December 7 – West Michigan Holiday VEX Tournament

January 4 – Grandville Middle School New Years VEX Tournament

January 11 – Jenison VEX Tournament


Sponsorship Opportunities 

You can support our VEX Robotics program with a contribution of any amount.  You can also sponsor a specific team or event in any of the following ways:

Team Sponsorships:

____ $100 VEX EDR Team Contributor
____ $280 VEX Team – V5 Motor Upgrade Sponsor

____ $549 VEX Team – V5 Controls System Sponsor
____ $1,000 VEX Team – Full Team Sponsorship

Program Sponsorship:

____ $2,000 District-wide VEX Robotics Program Sponsor

Event Sponsorships: 

____ $500 West Michigan Fall VEX Tournament Sponsor (Event Date: 11/8)
____ $500 West Michigan Holiday VEX Tournament Sponsor (Event Date: 12/1)

____ $500 West Michigan New Years VEX Tournament Sponsor (Event Date: 1/4/20)

____ $500 West Michigan 2019 VEX Tournaments – Competition Field Sponsorship

Grandville Robotics is supported by the Grandville Academic Team Boosters, recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)3 public charity.  Your contributions are tax deductible in accordance with IRS rules.  You can contribute online with the link below, or you can send your check to the Grandville Academic Team Boosters, PO Box 265, Grandville, MI  49418.  (please make your check payable to the Grandville Academic Team Boosters)

Contribute online at: