FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

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What is a regional?

A FRC Regional is where all the action happens! Competition, excitement, nerves, FUN. This is where every team will compete, as part of a three team alliance, for various awards, acknowledgments and medals in hopes to gain entrance to the National Championship.

How long is the regional?

Regionals typically last 3- 4 days, and depending on where your team has registered to compete, will require overnight stays.  The full 3 day event schedule is available here.

Important OC Fairgrounds Information:

  • Map – see link to Fairgrounds map on Resources tab of our website highlighting event buildings, parking and gate entrances.
  • Parking – Enter via Arlington Drive at Gate 8 and park in Lot I. Our event is on the Northeast side of the property in The Hangar.  FRC Pits are located in the Anaheim building. Do NOT use Gates 1, 2, or 3 as they direct traffic to the West and South side of the property. Teams may purchase parking passes with OC Fair & Event Center parking attendants upon arrival. A variety of parking options will be available including multi-day and overnight parking for trailers. Volunteers and invited guests will check in with a FIRST Volunteer stationed at Gate 8.  They will receive a hang-tag to post in their vehicle and complimentary parking.
  • Food – Teams and spectators may bring a brown bag lunch or leave the grounds (purchase in-and-out parking privileges or pay upon re-entry).  We have arranged for picnic tables or teams may use popups to camp out in the green space outside the buildings. In addition, Fairgrounds’ concessions will be available to purchase food and drink.  The OC Fairgrounds has advised us that no outside catering or commercially purchased items is allowed including in the parking lots.  
  • Water – It is easy to get dehydrated so bring a REFILLABLE Water Bottle.  The OC Fairgrounds has advised us that they prohibit the use of disposable plastic water bottles. You will not need to bring water to your pits as bubbler stations will be available on site for teams to refill their water bottles.
  • WEATHER – Southern California winters are typically mild with possible rain.  As the competition field and pit areas are detached at the OC Fairgrounds, plan on covering/protecting your robots and pit items when transporting between buildings and the parking lot in the event of rain.

Where is the robot stored?

  • The robot, along with all other equipment your team decides to bring with you, will be kept in the pit. The pit is a rather small area, a 10×10 square area, sometimes smaller depending on the venue. The Orange County Regional pits at the OC Fairgrounds are 10’x10’. 
    • Teams are encouraged to create signs/banners and decorate their pits.  This is a great way to recognize your sponsors and let others know about your team (ie. Include your team logo, mascot, etc.).
    • Many teams give out pins or trinkets when visitors and judges stop by their pit areas.  They also swap pins with other teams.  It’s not required, just another fun option at the event.
    • Extra lighting helps. Especially if you bring an uncovered structure as part of your pit setup (such as the frame of an E-Z up). Bring extension cords and power strips too.
    • Pits come with a 6′ (usually) table for a work surface but consider bringing a small table for extra work surface and shelf unit(s) to help store parts and tools. Tool carts can provide extra storage and table top work space too.
    • While the pit comes with a table, having some vertical storage space is nice. One or two rolling racks from Costco make great storage areas, and can also serve as a convenient way to get your stuff into and out of the competition venue. Once you’re at competition, check out the other pits for ideas on how to make a better pit for next year.
    • You cannot daisy-chain power strips, so go to Harbor Freight and get a couple of their 5’ long multi-outlet power strips. They are cheap and give you a lot of outlets.
  • We allow for set up of your pit on load in evening. Portable pit structures with team theme related signage helps with team branding and recognition.
  • Be sure to bring a utility type cart (with a something close to at least a 2 foot wide by 3 foot long wheelbase for stability) to work on and transport your robot to and from the field.  Also, keep your bag and possibly a tarp to cover your robot during transport in the event of rain.

What is the timeline of a regional? What actually happens and when?

  • The night before competition begins (Wednesday night), the team will be asked to attend “Load- In.” This usually does not require the entire team. A select few, along with the coach will drop off the robot, and all other equipment (i.e. tools, batteries, spare parts, tables, etc.) into the pit area.
  • The next three days are focused on the robot competition. If you applied for the Chairman’s award, then your interview and presentation will also take place either the first or second day of the event.
  • The last matches take place on the third and final day of the competition. Alliance selection will follow, and the finals will begin to determine the winning alliance of the Regional. Note: Even if your team is not selected for an alliance in the final rounds, you should remain until the end of the event since your team might still win an award and teams should congratulation and cheer for the other teams still competing.

What will I do at the Regional?

  • That is up to you, your mentors and your coach! There are a variety of different roles that need to be filled for your team to have a successful weekend. Most Teams have the following roles: Pit Crew (Drivers, Mechanics, Programmers, Public Relations, Safety), Scouting, Mascot, and Team Spirit.
  • Ask for help early on.  Start with veteran team assigned to help you or pit administration.
  • Assign a team member to track the team’s schedule and to listen for announcements.  Don’t force pit administration or queuing to come find you.
  • Have a team member ready and available to explain your program to visitors.  They may be potential sponsors or mentors.
  • Interact with other teams when not busy and post your progress on social media to your school.
  • Organize a school field trip to the competition to help recruit new team members for next season and have a great cheering crowd from your school.  Remember, it’s the Sport for the Mind!
  • Overall, have fun and cheer for the teams competing.  Showing your team/school spirit in the stands with lots of energy makes the event more exciting and fun for everyone!

Preparing for the regional and other helpful information:

  • Be sure you have all your paperwork done before the event, for example, your team roster.
  • Be sure all your team has safety glasses and are using them.
  • Teams attending their first regional event should always make checklists for each storage container they bring to the competition. It’s easy to lose track of things given the pace of the competition!
  • Don’t forget to scout out other teams. Assign a pair of students to visit all of the other team’s booths and take notes on the types of robots they will be competing with and against.
  • Take advantage of all the veteran teams at the event.  There is always a lot of Gracious Professionalism and cross-team support.  Ask for help with anything you are struggling with, and there are always students and mentors more than willing to lend a hand. 
  • Have FUN!

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