Wendy Alexander/Madera Tribune File Photo
As volunteers reset the field, more than 40 teams competed at the ninth annual MadTown Throwdown last year with Madera’s MadTown Robotics winning the title with three other teams. This year’s event begins Friday afternoon and continues into the weekend.
Fresh off its first World Championship, Madtown Robotics will have Joe Flores Gym filled this weekend for its annual Madtown Throwdown competition.
More than 40 teams, the most in its history, will descend to Madera and fill the town in one of the bigger events at Madera High School.
“This is bigger than last year,” MHS robotics adviser Vern Valmonte said. “It’s the closest offseason event for everybody because we’re centralized.”
The event gives Madera fans a chance to see how Madtown Robotics won the world championship with the same “game” — Destination Deep Space — as the championship matches.
“We have a whole new team this year, so we’ll see what happens,” Valmonte said. “We will have two bots at the event. The back-up is one built by our freshmen.”
Madtown Throwdown is also the last event teams can use last year’s bots before the new season start.
“It’s a good way to break in a new driver and people,” Valmonte said.
Loading and practice matches begin Friday afternoon. Saturday’s matches begin in the morning, Valmonte expects an 8 a.m. start. Sunday matches will probably begin at 10 a.m., according to Valmonte.
“We always feel the target on our back,” Valmonte said. “We had a No. 1 ranking last year. It’s nothing different, but we have that World Champions title with us. I don’t know how that will play this year with a whole new team.”
Just five people from a crew of about 20 people return from last year’s team.
“We have 30 people this year,” Valmonte said. “I want to take everybody to all of our competitions, but it takes a lot of money to get them there. Usually, it’s two vans’ worth— about 18 kids — that we take to competitions.”
Admission is free to the public and the snack bar will be available.