The Jesters: Vex World Championship


The vex season has ended recently, and with it, the ACP Vex Jester team returns from the world championships. We sat down with Jordan Hill (12) and asked about the event.

First is a brief description of how the Vex tournaments work. With each season, the rules of the matches change, but they have a few constants like always having a part of the match being done with a portion of the match focusing on an autonomous phase where the robots drive themselves from predetermined code. This season the game centered around gathering up foam discs and launching them into hoops. Teams would play through a series of matches, each with up to four robots separated into teams of two, and would try to get rollers to their team’s color and shoot discs into the hoops. The game is simple yet has the possibility for numerous varied robot designs.

The World championships obviously mean not just Arizona teams. Jordan Hill says that “We were paired up and pitted against teams from other countries who’d spent all season working on the same challenges back at home,” adding “All competitions we’d had here in Arizona were at maximum around five to ten percent of the size and were very obviously not as well-funded. World’s was hosted in a huge convention center that was definitely the largest building I’d ever been in, and walking from our work areas to our competition fields took a substantial amount of time, especially with a robot in our arms.”

When the actual event began, “The final matches took place in the dome, this huge arena filled with lights, seats, and sound. The people on the opposite side looked like specks. The lights were flashing and people cheering; it was a sight to behold with so many people from around the world congregating all for this one sport. It was breathtaking.” As the final matches closed and the winners were announced, “the room plunged into darkness and a tarp fell out of the ceiling. A competition field descended in a shower of sparks and smoke and assembled itself in the air, brought down on cables. Everyone was on the edge of their seats, squinting into the field, trying to get a better look at next year’s game. They then played the instructional video, at which everyone screamed when it was announced robots would be challenged to climb poles at the conclusion of each match. It was an entirely different style of game than anything we’ve seen before.”

As Jordan and the entire Jester team left bewildered at the spectacle and returned to Arizona, Jordan was “quite disappointed that I won’t get another chance to compete at such a large competition, but at the same time, I feel very lucky to have ended my senior year at robotics on a high note. We returned home having been awarded a build quality trophy; it’s the tallest one we have won all season!” We are proud of Jordan, the Jesters, and all of our Vex teams for working as hard as they can and being extraordinary. Go Knights!