2nd Annual Rock River Off-Season Competition Returns July 26
2OC Grows to 32 High School Robotics Teams, Represents Five States

July 23, 2014

- In only its second year, the emergent Rock River Off-Season Competition (R2OC), presented by UTC Aerospace Systems and Woodward, returns to the Rockford Region on Saturday, July 26, at Rock Valley College (RVC). The second annual R2OC commences at the 8:45 a.m. opening ceremony, and continues with a regional robotics competition through 5 p.m. at RVC's Physical Education Center located at 3301 North Mulford Road, Rockford, IL 61114. R2OC, which sold out its 32 available registrations and will feature approximately 600 participants this year, is derived from the international FIRST Robotics Competition® (FRC) that combines sports with the rigors of science and technology.

"The R2OC committee is very excited to have 32 FIRST Robotics teams from five states coming to Rock Valley College to compete on July 26," said Karen Hill, R2OC Co-Chair. "The students competing in this event are our future workforce. Our five local teams now have alumni interning or working at manufacturers in the Rock River Valley. Hosting this competition in Rockford gives the community a great opportunity to see our high school students compete with the robots they have built."

R2OC is the collaborative effort of various community partners, committee members and these five Northern Illinois FIRST robotics teams: Flaming Monkeys from Belvidere; Metalheads from Freeport; Rockford Robotics; Stateline Robotics from Rockton; and Winnovation from Winnebago (winners of last weekend's Indiana Robotics Invitational, a premiere off-season event featuring 68 teams). The competition also supports Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) Education Coalition programs.

In 2014, more than 68,000+ high school students from 2,700+ teams have competed in FRC®. Aerial Assist, the official 2014 FRC, is played by two competing Alliances of three robots each on a flat 25x54 foot field, straddled by a truss suspended over five feet above the floor. The objective is to score as many balls in the goals as possible during a two minute, 30 second match.

"R2OC teaches youth in our Region the necessary skills from working as part of a team, to learning valuable engineering and manufacturing applications to take with them as they advance in their education," said John Groh, President & CEO of the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (RACVB). "Our hope is that these students will further their education and eventually start careers in the Region to be leaders in their industry. Opportunities like this will help our Region's youth shape their goals and identify the strategic steps necessary to attain them."

R2OC is also coordinating a Reach Out and Read Book Drive, as well as a Used Tools Drive in conjunction with the 2014 event. Participants are encouraged to bring books for donation to Crusader Clinic, and gently used tools for robotics teams in the area that are not well equipped for the build season.
Admission to R2OC is free. For more information, visit www.r2oc.org.

RACVB is a private, non-profit organization established in 1984 to champion efforts to promote the Rockford Region as an overnight visitor destination. The RACVB adds wealth to the region's economy by investing in marketing programs that grow tourism. www.gorockford.com


Andrea Mandala, RACVB Marketing & Communications Manager: 815.489.1664 or amandala@gorockford.com