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Robots to compete in Beach Brawl at Community House

May 10, 2017
By MEGHAN McCOY (mmccoy@breezenewspapers.com) , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

More than 30 builders will congregate at the Sanibel Community House to battle their robots in the Small Bots of Mass Destruction Beach Brawl this weekend.

The brawl will take place Saturday, May 20, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Sanibel Community House, 2173 Periwinkle Way. Tickets are $5 at the door.

Kurt Durjan, KurTrox systems engineer, who installed the audio, video and lighting for the renovated Community House, said he originally ran an event in 2004 right out of high school when Battlebots was still on television. He took a break while finishing school, and recently brought it back for the community when ABC started airing robots on television again.

Article Photos

Robots of various sizes will compete in the Small Bots of Mass Destruction Beach Brawl at the Community House this weekend.

PHOTO PROVIDED

"I realized there was still a huge pool of people. I decided to put the event back on last year and woke it all up," Durjan said by attracting between 500-600 people for the Small Bots of Mass Destruction event. "The goal is to actually bring science and technology into the community."

Durjan, who is based in Port Saint Lucie, has created a makers space for builders to get together to create something out of nothing. Durjan said it's better than playing video games, or doing nothing because individuals are learning how to use the simplest of tools while creating something with their bare hands.

The last Small Bots of Mass Destruction event, which was held at the Martin County Fairgrounds, attracted 55 robots from as far away as North Carolina and Tennessee to compete in the competition. Durjan said it pulled in a lot of good builders, as well as two teams from the Battlebot television show.

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As of last week, 35 robots had already signed up for the Beach Brawl event. The robots, ranging in size from 1 pound to 15 pounds battle in a 8x8 bulletproof arena for three minutes. A few of the robots have flame throwers, which Durjan said is an amazing site to watch.

"It's nail biting entertainment and chaos," he said of the event.

Durjan encourages the community to come out and watch the Beach Brawl throughout the day.

"There will be matches going all day," he said. "It is very unique. It's a competition. There is real money to be had. It's an actual battle to the death."

In addition to watching the matches both through the 8x8 arena, or on the big screen television, spectators can also talk with the builders in the pit area, which will be set up in the middle room of the Community House.

"Talk to the builders. Ask questions. Meet the builders. We love to engage the crowd with the builders," he said.

Since the competition is an all day affair, Durjan said towards the end of the day, they will bring out some of their own toys and pick people from the crowd to fight in a battle. The winner will get a prize.

"We try to engage the audience as well," he said.

Durjan said he enjoys Small Bots of Mass Destruction because the community of builders almost always know each other. He said it's great to see two competitors competing against each other and then giving each other a high five when the match is over, then working together to rebuilt their robots.

The excitement stems from getting people involved in a sport that allows it to be open to anyone and everyone.

"You can enter a toy. It doesn't matter. Someone can try out a design and it fails, or exceeds. That is experience money can't buy. It allows people to get a real world experience," Durjan said. "I encourage anyone to not hesitate to bring something to enter. It's cheap enough to enter."

For more information visit www.sbomd.com.

 
 

 

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