The 10,000 Lakes Robotics Competition is where you'll find 2,500 students practicing a varsity sport that requires more brains than muscle. And it's a sport that's growing in popularity, not only in Minnesota and across the country, but around the world.
These robots are sophisticated enough to shoot disks and climb what are called pyramids. Competitors have been grouped in three team alliances to do what they do best, dance, flex their noggins, and compete.
"The teams play defense, offense; they have strategies on who's going to do what in an alliance, the three-robot team," Minnesota FIRST Planning Committee chairman Mark Lawrence said.
"Teams operate like small businesses," Kyra Shaefer of Irondale High School said. She was among the winners of the competition. "We do have a lot of the math and science, but a lot of what people are going into business."
"Maybe they don't want to be on the football team, but they still like being part of a team and having that community," Lawrence said.
The alliances formed are part of the allure, charming enough to attract students from as far away as Mexico.
"It's like a big family from all the parts of the world, so, it's amazing," Marco Solis said. Solis traveled from Mexico to compete.
It's a kind of camaraderie that will benefit these students for years to come.
"I'm going to be attending the University of Minnesota in the fall, and after that, I'm going to get a mechanical engineering degree," Shaefer said.
Especially for those like Kyra who plans on returning to pay it forward.
"I'll be coming back in the following years as a mentor," she said.
Winners will claim their trophy and head to St. Louis for the championships at the end of April.