US FIRST FTC team, The PrestidigiTaters competed against 36 other teams at the state championship and took 3rd overall in the robot matches. They credit having a team that presents themselves very well, and is well rounded, but with all the veteran teams there were not expecting to win a major award. However, their hard work paid off because The PrestidigiTaters were awarded the Inspire Award.

Inspire Award Description from the FTC website:

“Given to the team that truly embodied the ‘challenge’ of the FTC program. The team that receives this award is a strong ambassador for FIRST programs and a role model FTC team. This team is a top contender for many other judged awards and is a gracious competitor. The Inspire Award Winner is an inspiration to other teams, acting with Gracious Professionalism™ both on and off the playing field. This team is able to communicate their experiences, enthusiasm and knowledge to other teams, sponsors, their community, and the Judges.”

This year’s challenge was particularly difficult, the robots were required to scale a 3 foot high mountain while going over obstacles and ultimately hang from a bar under it’s own power. To accomplish this, the team custom-built a winch out of a tape measure and used a 3D printer and laser to engineer parts (all of their own design, except for the hook, which they got from Thingiverse and modified). They custom built tank tracks out of bike chain, machined aluminum, 3D printed parts, and homemade rubber (2 parts silicone, 1 part cornstarch, and food coloring or concrete dye depending on the color). No small potatoes! In the process they’ve learned a lot about technology, such as Java programming, parametric CAD using OpenSCAD, and web design (the team created their web site by themselves).  They’ve also learned a lot about problem solving, engineering, leadership, planning and organization, and most importantly, themselves.

Coach, Brian Allen said, “as a father (of Madi and Bailee), I have to say this is an excellent way to spend time with teenage daughters!  I’m sure Curtis would say the same about the time spent with his son (McCade).”

Paul Hill, Washington County 4H Program Director and The PrestidigiTaters team sponsor encourages parents, of all skill levels, to participate in US FIRST programs. In addition to spending quality time with your children, you are helping them (and yourself) develop skills that have the potential to benefit the future of many.

This rookie team (first year participants in US FISRT FTC) has worked hard and performed well, they stand as testament to the talent that exists in southern Utah. In addition to the Inspire Award, the team also earned a spot to advance to the Super Regionals in Oakland, CA in late March.

The team is currently looking for sponsors to help them represent Utah and Washington County. Team coach, Brian Allen said, “We’ve raised $3,340 so far through a GoFundMe campaign (which includes $1,500 that Washington County 4H is providing).  We’re hoping to raise more than that, though, to cover our next year’s season, since it will be much easier to fund raise now after a big win, than at the beginning of a season.” Brian promised that anyone who sponsors them now, will be listed as sponsors for next season as well.
This team needs more support from our community. Sponsors can contact the team directly (especially if they’d like the team to come and demo the robot) through our website (http://www.prestidigitaters.com), donate through our GoFundMe page (https://www.gofundme.com/haqwaqzw), or donate directly to Washington County 4H with a note that it goes to The PrestidigiTaters robotics team:

Washington County 4H
Attn: Paul Hill
475 S. Donlee Dr.
St. George, UT 84770

Team coach prefers that donating go through 4H, since there are no fees (as with GoFundMe), and 4H is a non-profit, so the donation is tax-deductible.

The PrestidigiTaters are:
Madi Allen (11th grade at Dixie High School / DSU Success Academy)
Bailee Allen (10th grade at Dixie High School / DSU Success Academy, LaunchPad at busybusy)
McCade Larsen (10th grade at Dixie High School)
Kason Peacock (10th grade at Desert Hills High School)
Brian Allen, Coach (Software engineer)
Curtis Larsen, Coach (CIT at DSU)
DJ Holt, Mentor (CIT at DSU)