New Regional Robotics Tournament Coming to Rockford
Event to Attract Nearly 400 Students from Midwest

March 21, 2013

ROCKFORD, IL - Today the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (RACVB), area robotics teams and community partners announced details of a new robotics competition that is coming to Rockford on August 3. The Rock River Off-Season Regional (R2OC) competition will be hosted at Rock Valley College and will draw approximately 400 students from at least 20 robotics teams in the Midwest.

The competition is the collaborative effort of four robotics teams from Northern Illinois; the Metalheads from Freeport, Winnovation from Winnebago, Rockford Robotics from Rockford, and the Flaming Monkeys from Belvidere. These teams, together with the RACVB worked together for several months to conceptualize and plan this new competition that is unique to the region. The RACVB will continue to provide ongoing assistance and support to the event hosts throughout the implementation of the competition. The goal is to make this an annual event that grows year over year in Rockford.

R2OC is based on the ever-growing international FIRST Robotics Competition® (FRC) that combines sports with the rigors of science and technology. This year more than 51,000 high school students from 2,550 teams will compete in FRC®. In its first year, R2OC is not sanctioned by FRC®, however, its goal to grow the event into an official FRC® competition and become part of the organization's growing international network. FRC's® 2013 game is called the Ultimate Ascent, where teams must create and program their robots to toss as many flying discs as possible into its goals during the timed match. The match ends with robots attempting to climb up pyramids.

"Rockford is an epicenter for engineering and advanced manufacturing so this competition has found a great home in our community," said RACVB President & CEO John Groh. "With strong support from our local business and education community, I'm confident we'll see this competition grow each year."

The competition supports high school Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) Education Coalition programs. By hosting the event in Rockford, it provides an opportunity to highlight talent among local students, as well as expose future engineers from around the Midwest to the opportunities and businesses that are located in the region.

"Rock Valley College is proud to be the home to the first R2OC competition," said Rock Valley College President Dr. Jack Becherer. "These talented students are on a great path to develop very valuable and desirable career skills. Growing our own engineers for our region is extremely important, and Rock Valley College is committed to helping achieve this through academics, mentoring and internship opportunities."

Prior to the competition, the RACVB will sponsor a Student Activity night at the Discovery Center Museum on August 2. In addition to the economic impact of the tournament, it will also benefit a local nonprofit as students are being asked to bring books to donate to The Literacy Council.

Sponsorship opportunities for the competition are also available. For more information, visit

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.

Kylie Crull: 815.489.3956 or