Xtreme Bots, drone soccer events come to Clark County Fairgrounds

A customized remote-controlled robot and drone soccer competition between several teams will be held this weekend at the Clark County Fairgrounds.

The Xtreme Bots and Xtreme Drone Soccer competitions will be held on Saturday in the Arts and Crafts Building at 4401 S. Charleston Pike.

“It’s our first time hosting this event. It used to be put on at the Nutter Center, where they (held) it a couple of times and COVID stopped it,” said Dean Blair, executive director of the Clark County Fairgrounds. “We’re so thrilled to host and have them.”

The competitions are under the Xtreme STEM organization, which has several programs including BOTS and drones, to get middle and high school students involved and interested in STEM, said Steve Staub, who is part of a committee of local businesses that helped plan this event.

The competition includes one-, three- and 15-pound Bots that students design and build themselves. The Bots battle in the arena, and students document how they built them and the engineering standards they used.

“It’s a growing thing. We started this a little over 10 years ago. It was great and we had about 65 teams back right before COVID. Then COVID hit and we have been building back up since then,” Staub said. “We will continue to grow over the next several years.”

The regional championship for U.S. Drone Soccer will also be held during the event, where middle school students design and build drones to play soccer.

“Drone soccer is kind of like quidditch from Harry Potter. (The students) drive around and go through the hole in a goal,” Staub said.

The Hayward Middle School team has been the launching point to the drone soccer program, which is sponsored by the Braxton Miller Foundation, Staub said.

There are about 35 Bots and about five drone teams signed up for the competitions so far. The one-pound Bots are done by an individual person, whereas the three- and 15-pound Bots are teams of two to five people.

Staub said there is a wide variety of students in the competitions, but schools include Hayward, Centerville, Milford, Minster, Upper Arlington and Miami Valley Career Technology Center. Colleges also compete, including University of Dayton, Wright State University, Kent State University and University of Pittsburg. There are also teams not associated with schools such as private clubs, scouts, church groups and even kids who are homeschooled.

“Xtreme Bots offers students an opportunity to design, build, problem solve, develop teamwork and hopefully crush the competition in a 3-minute battle,” according to the website. “Through practical application, students gain knowledge of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – all essential skills for manufacturing.”

The event is open to the public and free to attend, but donations can be given at the door. Doors open at 8 a.m. and the first Bots competition starts at 9 a.m.

For more information, visit https://www.xtremestem.org/xtreme-bots.

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