Jackrabbits named Land O’Lakes Bot Shot champions


Bruce Kluckhohn/AP Images for Land O'Lakes, Inc.

South Dakota State Robotics team member Josh Gross shoots baskets against Former collegiate and professional basketball standout Christian Laettner at Land O’Lakes Bot Shot Sunday in Minneapolis.

Students from the South Dakota State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison earned the title of Land O’Lakes Bot Shot Champions Sunday, beating collegiate robotics teams from around the country in a game of H-O-R-S-E at DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis. In addition to prevailing against two other student teams, they also took on basketball legends David Robinson and Christian Laettner in a skills challenge. South Dakota State and Wisconsin were tied on the tie-breaker and Land O’ Lakes crowned both teams as winners.

“It has been inspiring to see such engineering skill in action on the basketball court,” said Robinson. “Land O’Lakes Bot Shot is a celebration of STEM and the talent of young people as we speed toward a future increasingly impacted by robotics, automation and technology.”

Land O’Lakes Bot Shot challenged students from seven universities to build a robot capable of mastering shots from a variety of basketball court locations. The program sought to celebrate the talents of students in the fields of science, robotics and engineering and raise awareness of the advanced technology and innovation central to modern agriculture.

“At a time of year when so much focus is put on college basketball, it’s exciting to also recognize student all-stars off the court, putting their skills on display for basketball fans and robotics enthusiasts alike,” added Laettner.

In addition to South Dakota State and Wisconsin, other universities included were:

  • Iowa State University;
  • North Carolina A&T;
  • Purdue University;
  • University of Florida
; and
  • University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

“Today’s event was truly an exhibition of innovation and creativity—as well as competitive spirit,” said Beth Ford, president and CEO, Land O’Lakes, Inc. “The talent on display here makes me excited and hopeful for the next generation of problem-solvers and creative thinkers. As future leaders in their respective fields, we know solving society’s greatest challenges depends on their success. Congrats to South Dakota State and the University of Wisconsin-Madison and all schools who took to the court throughout the competition.”

The winning schools both received a $10,000 prize from Land O’Lakes. Each team built their robots with materials and supplies provided by Land O’Lakes and AndyMark Inc., a leading mechanical and electrical parts supplier with a focus on robotics education.

“It’s been a crazy past few weeks getting this robot together,” said student Nick Ackerman from Wisconsin-Madison. “We never imagined winning this competition.”

“We’re incredibly excited and grateful to Land O’Lakes and AndyMark for inviting us to compete in an experience like this,” added Joel Quanbeck from South Dakota State University. “It was a great competition.”