Giddyup for the robot rodeo

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Events test skills of hazardous devices team from around the Southwest

By Special to the Monitor

Hazardous devices teams from around the Southwest will wrangle their bomb squad robots at the fourth annual Robot Rodeo beginning Wednesday at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The rodeo gets under way at 8 a.m. at Technical Area 49, a remote section of laboratory property near the entrance to Bandelier National Monument. Six teams are scheduled to participate in the three-day competition.

“The Robot Rodeo gives bomb squad teams the ability to practice and hone their skills in a fun setting,” said Chris Ory of the Laboratory’s Emergency Response Group and a member of the Lab’s Hazardous Devices team.

Teams compete in events and simulations that may include having their robots remove bombs from the inside of aircraft, rescuing injured first responders, navigating obstacle courses, responding to a roadside bombing, operating in smoke-filled buildings, troubleshooting equipment problems, attacking and rendering safe large vehicle bombs and dealing with suicide bombers.

The laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories and the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators, Region II, will put on the rodeo.