FARGO — In North Dakota, a new sport is gaining popularity and it has more advantages than you might think.
The most recent emerging sport in the area is drone racing, which has taken up in many high schools throughout North Dakota.
The newly created activity, like esports, doesn’t need a lot of physical effort, but it does require competitors to maintain mental focus.
The sport is being incorporated by many school districts into their STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) curriculum. A drone racing league is employed in hundreds of schools around the nation to engage students in STEM subjects, according to a release from the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction.
The State of North Dakota awarded a $10,000 grant to Sawyer High School in May for the purpose of establishing esports and drone racing teams there. Sawyer High School is located about 15 miles southeast of Minot.
The drone racing movement in the state is centered at Fenworks. The business gives local high school teams access to alternate hobbies like esports.
Athletes from all over North Dakota recently competed in a drone racing state championship organized by Fenworks at North Dakota State University. The competition featured eight different teams from four different universities.
The Ocetie Sakowin Ballroom in the Memorial Union on the NDSU campus served as the venue for the competition. Students took part in virtual racing as well as flying drones around various Fenworks-built tracks. Microsoft and NDSU were among the event’s major sponsors, according to Dschaak.
Drones are now used much more frequently by farmers and ranchers to inspect their farms thanks to technological improvements. Fitzgerald stated that NDSU is dedicated to highlighting contemporary agriculture technology.
“NDSU is very forward-thinking in that space, knowing that drone autonomy is going to be critical to the success and thriving of agriculture in the state,” Fitzgerald said.
Drone racing will commence its second season in Jamestown and other schools across the state at the beginning of the 2023–24 academic year. The James Valley Career and Tech Center’s (JVCTC) associate director, Darby Heinert, predicted that after the first year, membership will increase significantly.
A $30,000 grant was given to the JVCTC to support the launch of its aviation and drones programs. Heinert reported that the institution has one open class with 15 simulators and 45 registered pupils.
The Jay Force 1 team won the simulator race at the Fenworks drone racing competition with a time of 92.060 seconds overall. Jamestown took part in the competition. Heinert praised Fenworks for the enjoyable encounter.
Dschaak emphasized one point about the trajectory of the sport’s interest as more schools around North Dakota started drone racing teams.