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QWERTY robotics team at BC Fair

The public can drive the Detroit Lake QWERTY Team robot "The Tank" at the Becker County Fair. Submitted Photo

The Detroit Lakes QWERTY robotics team will be out at the Becker County Fair this week, giving fair-goers an up-close look at their competition robots.

The team will not only be manning a booth inside the hockey arena Wednesday through Saturday, but will also be setting up a dunk tank from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday.

The public is invited to drive the team robot, called "The Tank."

"People can drive and have the robot shoot basketballs and trigger the dunk tank to dunk whoever is in it," explained the team's advisor, Debbie Janzen. "Or if they don't want to drive the robot, they can also just throw softballs, too."

Detroit Lakes School Superintendent Doug Froke, High School Principal Steve Morben, DL Police Chief Tim Eggebraaten and KDLM news director Carol McCarthy are among those being "dunked."

The team, which has acquired great growth and success over its short three-year history, does not receive funding from the school district, but functions off fundraisers and donations.

The dunk tank is one way the team is raising money to compete in the 2013 FIRST robotics competition.

In addition to novelty items for sale, there will also be sign up sheets at the QWERTY booth for any area youth interested in joining the team.

Although the real building season doesn't start until the beginning of January, the team has been preparing for the competition year round, including some up-coming seminars on computer programming and engineering.

"We've got somebody coming out to talk to the kids about the engineering process, and an employee from Radio Shack is coming out to do training on electrical soldering where the kids will actually get to do hands-on soldering instead of just reading about it," said Janzen.

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