4-H has long had a reputation of being an agricultural organization. Although the program has excelled in agriculture, its programs extend into areas such as sciences and technology.

Over the past several years, St. Clair County 4-H has developed a program that has excelled in robotics. Its teams have competed in multiple levels of FIRST Robotics. This summer St Clair County’s 4-H robotics will expand on its robotics presence by hosting a one of a kind off season robotics competition.

The event, dubbed the Robotics Rodeo, will take place on Saturday, July 25, 2020 at the St. Clair County 4-H and Youth Fair. Teams in the Lego League Junior, Lego League and Tech Challenge will be eligible to participate. Although this will not be an official FIRST Robotics event, it will follow FIRST rules and use the playing field from the 2019-2020 robotics season.

Dawn Nowicki, robotics leader for 4-H, notes that the robotics season ends during the school year and offers no events during the summer. From her experience and conversation with other robotics leaders, this creates a void in the learning cycle and it’s often difficult to get young people back into robotics during the fall.

The event will force the fair to make some operational and logistical changes to accommodate the event but we are excited to host the Robotics Rodeo. With such a large scale event we will need to make some changes including having still exhibits go home on Friday so that we can host part of the competition in that exhibit barn.

The competition will be limited to 28 teams. Teams interested in participating should contact Dawn Nowicki at dmnowicki@gmail.com or the 4-H office at 810-989-6935

—Rob Usakowski,
President of the St. Clair County 4-H and Youth Fair board