Bet the Farm LogoThis year’s River Valley BEST robotics competition will take place from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 29 at the Stubblefield Center on the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith campus, located at 5210 Grand Avenue.


The theme is “Bet the Farm,” which will challenge teams from 21 area schools to create a robot that can complete farm tasks.


Teams received materials for the competition during a kickoff on Sept. 17 and participated in workshops on judging criteria, proper use of materials and robot programming. Competitors have until the day of the competition to create a working robot. The team with the most efficient robot will win the overall robot game award.


Awards will also be given for best T-shirt and web page designs, the best robot exhibit, the most elegant and photogenic robots, and the team exhibiting the best sportsmanship. The team scoring the most overall points from all categories will receive the overall BEST Robotics Award.


Jason Merritt, electronics technology instructor and director of River Valley BEST, said “the interest in robotics is gaining momentum in our area.”


“We are seeing a 31 percent increase in school participation this year for BEST robotics,” Merritt said. “UAFS has also been instrumental in partnering with five area high schools to introduce a new robot automation concurrent enrollment program. In my opinion, the increasing interest in robotics, along with the exciting BEST Robotics competition, is creating a very synergetic relationship, giving junior high and high school students a wonderful opportunity for success in the STEM field. This is vital to creating jobs in our area and opportunities for graduates. I am looking forward to unveiling a very exciting robot game.”


Participating teams include Northside High School, Woodland Junior High, Lamar High School, Lincoln Junior High, Lincoln High School, Fayetteville High School, Ramay Junior High, J.D. Leftwich High School, Fulbright Junior High, Southside High School, Pea Ridge Middle School, Prairie Grove Middle School, Van Buren High School, Chaffin Junior High, Metro Home School, Washington Junior High, Believers Home School, Ambassadors for Christ, Paris High School, Benton County Home School and a team from the university’s Western Arkansas Technical Center.


The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Merritt by telephone at 479-788-7877 or by email at


About the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith

The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith is the premiere regional institution of Western Arkansas, connecting education with careers and serving as a driver of economic development and quality of place in the greater Fort Smith region. Through a small campus, dedicated professors, and the university’s unique bond with its community, students at UAFS are able to do more in the areas they are passionate about, both on- and off-campus, in a way that prepares them for post-graduate success. To find out how you can do more at UAFS, visit


Amy Fairbanks, University Relations Coordinator
Date Posted: 
Wednesday, October 5, 2016
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