Rack n’ Roll

Teams compete to score as many points as possible. Points are scored by suspending rings on the main rack centered in the playing field.


What is Rack n’ Roll?

Each match of Rack ‘n Roll is 2 minutes 15 seconds long, divided into three segments. The first segment is a 15 second autonomous period, where robots may attempt to place keepers onto the rack without human input. Once autonomous mode is complete, any keepers not already on the rack are no longer valid for scoring. The second segment, the teleoperated mode, is 2 minutes long, during which robots are operated by the drivers and may roam anywhere on the field. In the final 15 seconds, the end game, robots may not enter their opponent’s end zone, but all other rules remain the same from the teleoperated period. The head referee may pause the game between the autonomous period and the teleoperated period, the end game follows directly after the teleoperated period.

Information taken from the FIRST Rack n’ Roll Game Manual.

Summary of the Competition


Shawnee Mission Northwest Cougar Robotics very first meeting was attending the FIRST Robotics broadcast kickoff for the 2007 season at Shawnee Mission North high school. The Kaufmann Foundation very graciously provided us and a number of Kansas City area high schools a grant to help start teams. We had no idea what FIRST was about nor knew anything about robotics. Nine students along with teachers Edwin Provost and Bob Stewart, and mentor Mick Schneider were the founding pioneers of SMNW Cougar Robotics

The 2007 game, called Rack’n Roll consisted of hanging inflated round tubes on a center structure and then for bonus getting teammate robots at least 12” off the ground. Our team decided based on our inexperience we would concentrate on just a few functions. Our robot has a simple claw to place tubes on the lowest level and a maneuverable drive train to play defense. However our best feature was a deployable ramp that allowed other teams to drive up on us and score the bonus points. After many, many, many trials and failures, the claw and ramp were finally working. The team started the tradition that still exist in working 6 days a week including 2 school holidays and a 1 or 2 of Sundays.

The Kaufmann Foundation help start so many Kansas City teams that year that they asked us to attend the Midwest Regional in Chicago instead of the Kansas City Regional. So off the team went, 9 students, 2 teachers and I mentor to the Midwest Regional. Once again we were overwhelmed at the high energy and sophistication of many of the teams. Fortunately a team from only a few miles away us, Team 1710 (Olathe, KS Northwest High School), also attended the Chicago Midwest Regional. They sort of adopted us and helped us throughout the tournament. Team 1982 scored some tubes and was able to have robots drive up on our robot in some of the matches. We were ranked 23rd but unfortunately, we did not get selected for the elimination rounds. We watched the finals in awe of the top robots performance and knew we were hooked.

Rack n’ Roll Field

2007 Field
  • The Rack n’ Roll field is dominated by ‘The Rack’ which is a metal contraption with 8 arms hanging out of 3 different levels on ‘The Rack.’
  • Each arm, spider leg, has enough space for 2 game pieces.
  • At the top of the Rack, there are four green-lights placed above the legs 1, 3, 5, and 7 in order to help robots in autonomous mode.
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