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Robots to vie for Steamworks supremacy

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

Members of Madera High’s MadTown Robotics team from left, Daniel Chadwick, Angel Garcia, Armando Correa and Isaac Duarte prepare their robot Friday for the sixth annual Central Valley Regional Robotics Competition, hosted by Madera High at Madera South High School.


Robots built by 50 high school teams around the state will try to best one another in fueling fake “steam-powered airships” today and Sunday at Madera South High School.

The sixth annual Central Valley Regional Robotics Competition, which began Friday, will showcase 120 lb. robots put together from common parts over six weeks for this year’s challenge, F.I.R.S.T. Steamworks. Two “adventurer’s clubs,” each consisting of three-team alliances, will deliver green balls (“fuel elements”) to a “boiler,” install gears to turn rotors on a “flying” machine, defend against rivals, and climb aboard each “airship” before lift off.

Free and open to the public, the pseudo-Victorian steam-punk-themed contest is one of eight to be held in the state in coming weeks. The season ultimately ends with the multinational 2017 F.I.R.S.T. World Championship.

Opening ceremonies will kick off both days this weekend from 8:30-9:30 a.m. Qualification matches will be 9 a.m. to noon and 1-5:45 p.m. today, and 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Sunday. Final rounds will be 1:30-4:30 p.m. Sunday, and awards will be presented from 5:45-6:15 p.m. today and 4:30-6 p.m. Sunday.

Madera South High School can be found at 705 W. Pecan Ave.

F.I.R.S.T. (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people to pursue careers in science and technology. F.I.R.S.T. team members are eligible for more than $26 million in scholarships.

For details on the contest, visit For a video explanation of this year’s matches, visit Visit to view a live webcast of this weekend’s clashes as well as rankings, playoff results and award recipients.

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