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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah Eight weeks, some ingenuity and some basic parts later, several teams from Idaho had themselves competition-worthy robots.

Saturday in Utah, the teams unleashed their robots on the challenges of the FIRST Robotics regional competition.

The goals: the Regional Chairman s Award and the chance to compete in the national competition later on in April.

Over a three day period, the students put the robots through their paces in a series of challenges in order to advance to the finals. Those challenges included programming the robot to perform a task by itself, controlling the robot to pick up and hang various inflatable shapes in a row and competing as a team with other student robot builders from across the region.

Team Tators from Boise allied themselves with a team from Utah and one from California to become the top ranked alliance of the 24 teams who competed in the finals.

The Bullbots of Meridian took home the Regional Chairman s Award, which honors teams who serve as a model others should emulate.

Idaho teams from around the state also took home awards for things like machine robustness and unique efforts.

The Bullbots and Team Tators, plus their robots, will now travel to St. Louis for the FIRST Championship, April 27 through April 30.

According to their website, the FIRST program is aimed at inspiring young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them with hands-on programs that build science, engineering and technology skills.

KSL.COM contributed to this report.

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