2012 BEST South Regional competition - day 2 roundup

December 3rd, 2012

Today was the second and last day of the 2012 BEST Competition - South Regional.  Like the first day, it was frenetic, well-organized and a lot of fun.  To get the main bit of business out of the way, the overall winner of the competition was the Cornerstone Christian Preparatory Academy from a suburb just outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Their overall score in several categories, Competition, Engineering Notebook, Display Booth, and some other categories, was the highest and so they were the overall winners.  After the competition was over, I was able to track them down (not very hard - I just followed the sound of the loudest cheers) and spent several minutes talking with them and taking pictures - a great bunch of kids.  They were trying very hard to talk me into visiting their school in the near future and talking about a Space Elevator - maybe we’ll be able to do it via Skype…

Regarding the Climber competition itself, there were certainly no new Engineering principles at work here - they were robots, assembled from a Kit.  I have posted a video of one of the competition runs at our new channel on YouTube: ISECdotORG.  But the whole idea of the BEST competition, as I have written about earlier, is to encourage middle-school and high school level kids to get interested in techie stuff, science, engineering and technology.  It certainly seems to have succeeded in doing that and I’m truly grateful that Mr. Brent Percival of Auburn University (where this competition was held) called me up (out of the blue) one day earlier this year and asked if ISEC would be interested in participating.  We did spend some of our funds on sponsoring this competition and a few more of our dollars on hand-outs (posters, business cards, CLIMB Volume 1 and the ISEC report on Debris Mitigation) and I think it was very well worth it.  I had people talking to me almost the entire time I was there about the Space Elevator.

Some anecdotes…

Just before noon, one of the competition organizers came up to me and told me that I and 9 other vendors / sponsors would be stationed at tables outside the arena.  The idea was to give each of the kids participating in the competition a card with spaces on it for 8 different types of “stamps”.  Each of us at a table would have a stamp and, as the kids came around and talked to us, we would stamp their card.  If they were able to get all 8 of the stamps on their card, it would go into a drawing for a door prize.  However, there were only 8 stamps for our 10 tables.  At any one time, 2 of us would not have them.  I had a steady stream of kids and their parents coming up to my table, wanting to get their card stamped and wanting to talk about the Space Elevator.  Even when it wasn’t my turn to have a stamp, very few of the kids drifted away when they found that out - they really like the idea (and kids love posters and I had a lot of them to give away!).  I had no idea this was going to happen - completely caught me by surprise.  But it was a fun way to spend 2 hours, even if the back of my neck did get a little bit sunburned…

People sure treat you nice when they find out you’re a sponsor :).  I was given an ‘all-access’ pass and was able to go anywhere I wanted and talk to anyone I wanted. I made a point of introducing myself to the event announcer.  When I found out that his son was very much into robotics and the idea of a Space Elevator, I made sure to give him a copy of CLIMB, an ISEC Report, all 4 years of posters that we have and a couple of years of Conference proceedings to give to his son.  I wasn’t looking for any favors, just trying to get the word out, but boy, did ISEC get top billing whenever they thanked their sponsors!  Every other sponsor was just mentioned by name.  When he mentioned ISEC, he raved about how this group was really working on the idea / project of building a space elevator.  I would say, with a very high degree of confidence, that fewer than 10 people at the event knew about ISEC when the event started.  But by the time we were finished, I had people coming up to me to talk to me, people would point me out when I walked by, everyone would say “Thank you for helping out this event”, etc., etc., etc…  We truly did get some excellent publicity at this event.

A case in point was at the end of the competition and I tracked down the team from Cornerstone.  Many of them knew who I was and what ISEC was about and they insisted that I join them for a group photo (which you can find on our Flickr account; ISECdoORG, along with other photos from the 2-day event).  That was pretty cool…

There was just a lot on fun, techy-nerdy stuff going on too.  Each of the teams could submit a short video which was then displayed several times during the competition - and a winner was chosen at the end of the competition.  The winning video was a play on Star Wars, with the punch line being “May the Centrifugal Force Be With You” - I love it!  But my personal favorite (which took 2nd place) was about how Thor was banished from Asgard by his father.  Naturally, he landed in a Science Class and, after he told the students his plight, they built him a Space Elevator so he could return home - very creative.

Each of teams had a mascot.  There were robots (lots of different kinds), Sharks, Eagles, Tigers, etc., and, today, they held a “Dance-off” - again the top three each being awarded a prize.  The audience really got into it (and so did the referees!).  I took a video of the first round of competition, but didn’t post it as it did get a bit long.  But the finals were short and fun and I’ve posted a video of that too.  Sorry for the not-great quality.  I tried to make my Canon point-and-shoot do double-duty (pictures and videos) and it just doesn’t do a great job on videos.  But the final result was OK and I think you’ll enjoy watching it.  And I’m also sorry that the song they danced to was “Gangnam Style” - it seems to be everywhere!

I think that’s it.  I do want to sincerely thank the BEST organizers and the Auburn staff, especially Mr. Brent Percival who invited ISEC to participate, for all their kindnesses - they truly showed what Southern Hospitality was all about and they ran a great competition.

(The top photo thumbnail is of the representatives from Cornerstone, hoisting their trophy in triumph.  Not great quality - taken on a camera phone so I could Tweet it right away.  The bottom thumbnail is of my favorite poster at the event.  Click on either to see a full-size picture and visit ISECdotORG on Flickr to see more photos from the Event).

Entry Filed under: News / Announcements, Space Elevator Competitions

Leave a Comment

hidden

Some HTML allowed:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Key Websites

Post Categories

Reference Sites

Images and Animations

Blogroll

Discussion / Networking Groups

Companies & Individuals

Lobbying Organizations

Space Elevator Humor

Mutual Link society

Past Events

Calendar

September 2014
S M T W T F S
« Aug    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930  

Posts by Month

www.flickr.com
Space Elevator Blogger's items Go to Space Elevator Blogger's photostream

Stat Counter

free counters

    follow me on Twitter

    Feedburner