2017 Team Information

Most Recent Information is at the top.


Email blasts will be posted here leading up to and during the competition.


Email Blast #3 sent 10/6

Hello teams!


So, with almost 2 weeks under your belts, how are you doing?  Hopefully you have your gaming strategy worked out and are working on the tactical details of your robot design.  Or, maybe not!  As always, if you are totally stuck, please don't give up!  Just ask us for some help.  We can work something out.


A few details:

-The Kickoff Presentation is attached.  Please do not post it in the wild (internet).

-If you have any feedback for us regarding the Kickoff Session and/or the Build Session held that afternoon, we'd appreciate your comments and suggestions.

-Reminder that your team number is also your kit number.   It should fall in the range of 150-199.

-Please direct any Rkit questions (missing or failing parts) to Joel Graber at  joel.graber@gmail.com

-All teams should have received their unique license code to access the EasyC programming software.  If you didn't find the code that was in an email sent before Kickoff and with your R-kit, let us know immediately and we'll resend the code for your team.

-If your team has a website or other social media handles we could use on our website and Facebook page, please forward the appropriate details.  This is optional.  Current year social media tags are given at the end of this email.  Please use frequently!   #BESTrobotics

-Please reply (to me only), if you haven’t already done so, with either a couple of time slots of your preference for Demo Day between 8 AM and 3 PM for 90 minutes, or to let us know that any time is OK with your team.  If your team cannot attend, please let us know that.  We understand, but you'll be missing a significant practice opportunity.  We’ll send out and post a tentative schedule on the Demo Day section of our website soon.  (www.dallas-best.org )

-Scheduling requests for Marketing Presentations (UIL/BEST Award only) on Check In Friday evening of Game Day weekend (11/3) can be accepted at any time.   We anticipate around 26 teams needing to present, so the more we can do on Friday evening, the better for us all.   The remaining teams will be scheduled during open times during the Saturday contest.

-UIL teams are expected to self-monitor all participating students’ UIL eligibility and take any appropriate action per UIL rules.

-If you still could use a volunteer mentor for your team, reply to let us know.  We may have to get creative at this stage, but we won’t leave anyone out in the cold.

-You may have noticed a new BEST logo making an appearance.  If you want to use it (not required), you can find it at  BESTinc.org > Participants > File Manager > MAIN / Corporate Information / Corporate Identity


Worth mentioning separately:

-You should have one or more team members reviewing the game specific information on the national website (bestinc.org), if not daily then at least a few times each week.  In particular, monitor the Q&A section as it is a living document and updated quite frequently.  Any game rule changes will be identified and announced there and it is your team’s responsibility to keep aware of these changes.


Build Session 2.0 (date tbd):

We may be able to provide another optional Build Session prior to Demo Day.  If your team is interested in some "late in the season" help getting a robot designed and put together that should at least move on Game Day (an achievement on its own!), let us know.  An offer to host such an event would be appreciated in case there are multiple teams.


Declare for BEST Award (Oct 21):

Non-UIL teams - If your team plans to compete for the Dallas Hub's BEST Award, as opposed to Game Only Award, please let us know by email reply no later than this date.  If you've already told us, no need to reply.  If you're a UIL participating team, you are automatically set as a BEST Award team.  We need this information to be able to plan space for Display Booths and schedule judges for the Marketing Presentation.  If you are putting up a Display Booth, please let us know if you want a 6’ folding table that we can provide, and if you need house electric power run to the booth.  The standard hub size is 8’ x 8’ x 8’ maximum and has been adopted by the regional Texas BEST / UIL BEST contest rules, so no need to resize your booth if you advance to regionals.


Demo Day and Notebooks Due (Saturday, Oct 28):

Our next milestone event is Demo Day at the end of week 5 on October 28 at North Mesquite High School, 18201 LBJ Freeway, Mesquite, TX  75150, starting at 8 AM, with the last 90 minute time slot starting at 3 PM.  We've always had some difficulty getting all of our teams to participate at Demo Day.  It's worth the trip to try your robot on the actual game field, and take notes of your competition, much like a trade show where you can legitimately gather intelligence on your opponents.  (They probably won't show you everything, but you can ask!)  If nothing else, try to send a few folks as a "scouting party" to check out any concerns you have about your game plan as it relates to the game field.  It also gives you a week to do some final tuning of your robot design and game strategy.  We're all in this to learn something, so make the opportunities!


Also be aware that  your team notebook is due at Demo Day no later than 4 PM that day.  No exceptions, whether your team shows up to practice or not!  Plan for this!!  Don’t forget to keep it up to date, printed as a hard copy, and delivered to the Notebook collection table at Demo Day.  Please also include your Demographics Form that can also be found on the bestinc.org website, "Participants" > File Manager >  MAIN / 2017 Game Files / Rules / Team Demographics Forms


Graduating Senior and Outstanding Teacher Awards Nominations due (Oct 28):

Submission details available soon.


Game Day Eve Check-In (Friday, Nov 3)  at Brookhaven College, Carrollton:

All robots are expected to be brought in for a rule compliance check and left overnight unless failing that check.  Exceptions to allow check-in for some distant teams may be considered with prior arrangements.  We cannot possibly check in more than a few of the robots on the morning of our Game Day, so please plan accordingly.  It is not necessary for your entire team to show up at Check-in.  UIL/BEST Award teams that indicate they’ll do their Marketing Presentations on Friday evening will be accommodated.


Game Day (Saturday, Nov 4)  at Brookhaven College, Carrollton

Details to come.  Plan on doors opening at 7:30 AM and our goal is to be finished before 5:00 PM.  Clean up help after the event is also appreciated.


Regional Texas BEST and Texas UIL Robotics - BEST Division Contest (Dec 7-9): 

For the top teams from our local contest, a number of teams will advance to represent Dallas BEST at the regional contest on December 7-9 in Frisco.  This will again be a combined contest for the regional Texas BEST and state UIL Robotics Championship – BEST Division.  If your team makes the cut, plan to attend all 3 days due to the combined nature of the various divisions and large number of teams attending overall.  We should have our team quotas soon but we expect it to be around 8 total, like last year.  Advancing teams of any category (Texas BEST, UIL BEST Division, or Game Only) will need to get their notebooks updated and turned in some time before the regional competition dates.  More details will be provided as we get closer.


Thanks!  Good Luck!  Hope to see you all at Demo Day!!



Jon Spangler

Dallas BEST Robotics



Facebook:  BEST Robotics
Twitter:      @BESTRobotics


Email Blast #2 sent 9/18

Hello Teams!

Time to get this thing started!  Hopefully all 34 of you are still planning to compete.  We're counting on it!  But if you do have a last minute change, please let us know ASAP and don't be a 'no show' at Kickoff on Saturday.  
Please reply to this email immediately with an estimate of attendees from your team (students and adults).  We'll be a bit crowded this year, so a head count would be very much appreciated.  We may have to move parts of the larger teams to an overflow area.

Kickoff Day Info:
Location is:
Mesquite High School, 300 E. Davis Dr., Mesquite, TX  75149, near the intersection of I-635 (LBJ) and US-80.  There is a bus drop off area on the one-way eastbound East Davis in front of the school.  Look for the signs to the Kickoff check in location in the school cafeteria.  Buses, please park in the Hanby Stadium parking lot. Other vehicles may park and unload in the parking lot between the school and the stadium.  Please do not park in the drop off area, even though there are spaces there.  We’ll need them for material movement.

Doors open at 8:00 AM, so please don't get there too early and expect to get in.  Please do be there in time to check in and settled so we can start the briefing at 9:00.  We'll provide some breakfast items and drinks.  We should be finished with all of the Kickoff activities by noon.

Please commit to a Demo Day (10/28) time slot at your team check-in if you have a preference.  If you are flexible for Demo Day, let us know that and we appreciate your flexibility. 

Please pick up Breakout Session passes for up to 2 of your students.  The 2 sessions are:  Engineering Notebook and Software Programming.  We’ll decide right before those sessions start if we can accommodate a few more students.

Rookie and other teams that are approved for the afternoon Build Session, please indicate your lunch break preference (‘early’ or ‘late’, and that time will float) and pick up your shop access passes.  More details given below.

Suggested team supplies for Kickoff:  camera, notebook, small parts sorting box (for Consumable Kit fasteners, etc.), and your programming notebook computer to get help with installation of any software.  You will have access to all of the game field drawings, part numbers, vendors, etc. from the internet, so no detailed measurements should be necessary.  We’ll provide a briefing on the game, scoring, rules, kits, and then have a game demonstration.  After then, you’ll be permitted to check out the field and ask questions while some of your team will attend the break-out sessions described below and others will be picking up the 2 issued kits.

We will not be printing out the rules this year.  You can obtain them from the national BEST Robotics, Inc. website.  See below.

You will be issued your team’s Returnable Kit (R-kit) and your Consumable Kit (C-kit).  Please be prepared to load these materials into an appropriate sized vehicle.  The largest pieces are some 2' x 4' sheets of plywood and the longest pieces (as issued) are some 5' PVC pipes.  We will call teams one or two at a time for kit distributions.  If time permits and your team is ready before the game briefing at 9, you can request to pick up your kits early.

Break-out sessions will be available for Notebook Training and Software Training.  Have no more than 2 of your students plan to attend these sessions as appropriate.


Software License Information:
All software access instructions and license codes (where necessary) were provided in a separate email sent on 8/21 (email blast #1), except for EasyC, which will be provided no later than Kickoff Day.  However, there was a change for the Siemens SolidEdge CAD Software access instructions.  See the attached PDF document for revised details.  We will provide some software training at Kickoff, and it would be most helpful if you show up with your software already loaded on your laptop and ready to go.


Game Rules Now Available
Like last year, we are on a later than usual Kickoff start date.  You may have noticed that all 2017 game specific rules and related information on the BESTinc.org website are available for public viewing (unlocked) under “Participants >> File Manager >> 2017 Game Files” (see screen shot below).  
We will not ask you to “not peek”, so feel free to view the rules and Q&A and start strategizing, but only strategizing.  Please hold any questions to our hub or the national Q&A until after the Kickoff briefing.  You are NOT authorized to start building anything until after Kickoff since you won’t have your materials until then anyhow. 

You will be given this year’s password at Kickoff (like in past years) for any parts of the national file server aren’t unlocked.  Software files will remain locked with password protection since they are reserved for BEST teams. 


Afternoon Build Session Teams (rookie teams and others by arrangement only):
For those staying for the afternoon Build Session, lunch is on your own.  There are many places to eat in the area around the school.  Delivery can be arranged thru the restaurant of your choice or you may leave the school for lunch and return for your turn in the shop (works better for smaller teams).  Of course, bringing a sack lunch may be your preference, and we’ll provide space for your team for that or delivered food.  We would like to have the teams plan to have lunch in 2 shifts so we can work through lunch and get as many teams through as many stations as quickly as possible.  Please sign up for your preferred lunch break at Kickoff Check In

Teams staying for the build session, please try to bring: closed toe shoes, earplugs, safety glasses.  We’ll have some, but would prefer you bring your own.  Also, restrain or don’t have loose clothing, hair, or jewelry.  Due to space and demand, we will have to limit student participation to 5 students at any one time per school for the Build Session.  We will have space available for other students to work out strategy, review rules, ask questions, etc. If you are not a rookie team this year, you may ask to stay, but depending on the demand we may have to decline your request.

When you check in Saturday morning, be sure to obtain “shop passes” for the afternoon session.  We can only allow a limited number of students in the shop area at one time for safety reasons, so we will only allow students with passes, along with their teachers, in the shop on a controlled basis.  We’ll have a staging area for students to wait their turns.  Shop passes can be swapped amongst your students to give more of them experience with the tools, but large teams cannot expect to have all of their students participate.

The following teams are designated as Rookie teams and are invited to attend the afternoon session.  If you haven’t already replied to let us know that you do plan to attend (marked below), please do so ASAP with an estimated head count.  If your team was left off this list and you consider yourself to be rookies, let us know ASAP.

Fruitvale High School                                -confirmed
Itasca High School                                       -confirmed
Midlothian Heritage high School          
LG Pinkston High School                          
Uplift Heights Preparatory School        -confirmed

The following teams have requested to attend the afternoon session and are approved.  If you would like your non-rookie team to also be considered for the afternoons session, please let us know ASAP.  We ask that you only request this if your team has challenges getting access to tools or you have some other extenuating circumstances we should consider.

Canton High School                                   -approved
North Hills Preparatory                            -approved
Iowa Park High School                              -approved

BEST of luck to you all!  See you on Saturday!  If you have any problems getting there, contact us.  Our goal is to have “Zero No-Shows” at Kickoff.


Your Dallas BEST Robotics Core Team