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No summer slide for Duluth East Daredevils

The Duluth East Daredevils pose with their Minnesota State Fair 2nd Place plaque.1 / 2
The robot Allie-Hoop delights the Minnesota State Fair crowd with a balance on the bridge. (Photo by Colin Kealey-Swenson)2 / 2

Was there a summer vacation just now? Members of the Duluth East Daredevils robotics team may not have noticed, with a summer tour of the area that would exhaust the hardiest rock star.

The team made presentations at community festivals in Two Harbors, Superior, in Lincoln Park, and downtown at the Duluth Sidewalk Days, as well as for fifth graders at Lester Park Elementary School. They and their robots also made two appearances at Duluth Huskies baseball games.

Even while summer was winding down, the team did not rest. They competed at the Minnesota State Fair's Education Building on the last days in August, and the finals on Sept. 3.

So how did they do?

Allie-Hoop, the Duluth East Daredevils robot, took second place overall after three rounds of competition against robots from Irondale and Rochester, according to a Daredevils news release. The team's basketball-shooting robot and its high school handlers took second place in round one, first place in round two and second place in round three. The Irondale robot, named Knightkrawler, took first place.

"The main task of the Daredevils robotics is to promote the idea that science, math and technology are cool, fun and interesting subjects," said Tim Velner, Duluth East robotics coach. "Our team members want to be role models for younger kids. We attended events in Two Harbors and Superior with the hopes that the two communities would be interested in starting FIRST robotics teams."

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a nonprofit public charity that organizes events for robotics team, like the FIRST Robotics Competition.

Unlike most high school teams, the Daredevils are 100 percent community supported, he said.

"With all the community support over the past two years, we have been compelled to share with the community what we have built," Velner said. "There is no finer feeling than to see someone come up and tell us that they were at our competition or that they sent us a donation and then to be able to show them what we built with their support."