Getting into gear for the Rock River Robotics Off-Season Competition

WINNEBAGO, Ill. (WIFR) -- In just a few days, teams from across the Midwest will gear up for battle in the Forest City at the Rock River Robotics Off-Season Competition.

"There's so much possibility. You start with nothing and then 6 weeks later, you have this fully functioning robot," said student Molly Kleckler.

Zooming along at warp speed, teens are hard at work, getting their robots ready for the big showcase.

"You don't have to have any prior knowledge, you just have to be interested and excited," said Kleckler.

With R2OC, students from Boone, Stephenson and Winnebago counties explore the world of STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, taking advantage of all it offers.

"Students are being able to take the skills they learn here and go off to college and know what they want to focus on. Do they want to go into electrical engineering, do they want to go into mechanical engineering, do I want to go into the business, communications aspect of this?" said coordinator Karen Hill.

"It's probably been the best decision I've made, joining the team these past few years. I've made a lot of new friends, I've gained a lot more people skills even," said Kleckler.

With thousands of dollars in scholarships available and with the skills they learn, coordinators say the sky's the limit for the future of these eager tinkerers.

"We consider this an investment in our future and continuing to be a part of supporting the team and leading the team, guiding the team, being mentors... we have students going places," said Hill.

More than 2,000 fans across four states are expected to watch the 700 participants battle for glory this Saturday at Rock Valley College's Physical Education Center.