AURORA — The 2020 Aurora Open & Innovation Showcase is set to be the biggest in the event’s history and will be the first-ever CREATE Open robotics competition in Nebraska televised statewide.

Outside of the US Open Championship for robotics, this will be the largest and most unique CREATE Open Powered by Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) event of the year. The robotics competition is taking place next Saturday at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds in Aurora, beginning at 8 a.m.

The competition will be broadcast live from 1 to 5 p.m. on News Channel Nebraska (NCN) on local airwaves across the state.

The robotics teams will be randomly paired with teams from other communities to complete tasks and earn points.

“These students build some amazing robots, and in addition to learning technical skills, the students learn about leadership, communication and sportsmanship — all of which are demonstrated by NPPD employees on a day-to-day basis,” noted NPPD Careers Outreach Specialist Kim Liebig. “And the chance for this to be aired on live TV for others to experience is really exciting.”

The Aurora Open will engage nearly 80 community volunteers and 50 robotics teams from Omaha North Magnet High School, Norfolk Junior High School, York Middle School, Columbus High School, Chase County High School, Axtell High School, Holdrege Schools, Gothenburg Secondary School, St. Paul Public Schools, Nebraska Christian Schools, St. Edward High School, Brownell Talbot Schools, Hampton High School, Heartland Community High School, Cross County High School, Millard West High School, Lakeview High School, Central Community College–Columbus, Waverly High School and YETIbotics in Aurora.

In addition to the robotics competition, 10 innovation teams will be competing in an innovation showcase. As a part of the innovation showcase, two businesses from across Nebraska will be paired with a student team. The student team will then be tasked with building a product that can help meet the needs of both businesses. High school students, as well as students from Central Community College, the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will be participating.

NPPD Senior Career Education Specialist Chad Johnson said, “The products made by the student teams will be judged, and the top-ranked teams will present their product to a panel of Nebraska business representatives.”

Students will use NPPD’s STEM Connections Lab and other resources to build their products.

“This event is designed to encourage community involvement, engage future employers and inspire business-to-business relationships,” added Johnson.

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