Knoxville, Tennessee

Destination ImagiNation goes global

Nineteen people were in tow making their way to the University of Tennessee campus in Knoxville, Tennessee for the Global Destination ImagiNation (DI) international competition. Excitement levels were high, skits were practiced, costumes were tweaked and embellished, paperwork was in order – Busco DI teams were ready! Both teams were housed at the Papermill Holiday Inn a few miles off campus but the commute didn’t dampen the feeling of excitement one bit. Wednesday was a day of preparation with practicing of skits and putting final touches on props as the two teams both prepared to perform their team challenges on Thursday. Weather was hot but a breeze kept us all cool. Opening ceremonies kicked off the Global D2K10 competitions on Wednesday evening at the Thompson-Boling Arena.


(High School Team: (left to right)  Rachel Jones, Jenna Shambaugh, Robby Pope, Avery Dirr and Ally Shambaugh. Coaches are Rob Pope and Julie Mast.)

There were 1,044 teams at the Global competition in the areas of elementary, middle, secondary, and university age levels. This amounts to around 12,000 team members at this competition. OMG! (using kid text language) There were kids in costumes and DI t-shirts there from around the United States and Mexico, Guatemala, United Kingdom, South Korea, China, Canada, Brazil, Poland and Turkey. Kids go crazy trading team, state, and country pins and t-shirts. The Busco teams always get involved with meeting the international teams and always watch international teams perform challenges.

Thursday, May 27, both the middle and high school teams performed their skits in the Knoxville Convention Center. Both teams did an excellent job and made Busco proud! The middle school team completed their instant challenge on Friday afternoon and the high school team completed their instant challenge on Saturday morning, bright and early. The final ranking is a combination of both performances and is kept a secret until the closing ceremony on Saturday night.


Middle School team(Middle School team: front row, Peyton Brandt, Kennedy Sade, Brittney Shambaugh; second row, Valerie Pope, Cheyenne Conner, Madison Bieber, Kaleb Walker; in back is Coach Dena Pope. Annette Bieber (not pictured) is also a coach.)

Both teams enjoyed some fun down time at the Box and Ball Costume Ball held in the Thompson-Boling Arena on Thursday night. The high school team went with a super hero theme and the middle school team were decked out in duct tape outfits with spectacular colorful special details. You can go to the Destination ImagiNation website to see pictures of the teams under the photos tab, the the Box and Ball Costume Ball tab.

It was the middle school team’s first Global performance but don’t forget- they are the first place team in Indiana for the middle level DI-BOT challenge! They were sure to watch international and state teams perform their solutions to the DI-BOT challenge to get an expanded idea of possible solutions to the problem and to get ideas for future competition solutions for Busco! The MS team consisting of Kaleb Walker, Peyton Brandt, Valerie Pope, Cheyenne Connor, Madison Bieber, Kennedy Sade, and Brittney Shambaugh, with coaches – Dena Pope and Annette Bieber participated in the Global competition. Chaperones also attending Globals with the MS team were Michele and Paul Sade, Kimberly Walker, and Rachele Shambaugh. Katie Shambaugh also attending the competition as a spectator. The team created a solution to the DI-BOT challenge that involved the S.P.A.D. Organization (save peanut butter and duct tape), an evil grandmother and granddaughter combination, sneaky spies, thief catching nets, see-hear-speak no evil monkeys, a mailbox DI-BOT, and a helpful maintenance person. Of course their skit had awesome costumes and creative backdrops to enhance their story. They competed against 57 other middle level teams and received a 25 place ranking for their hard work, effort, and dedication.

The secondary level team consisted of Rachel Jones, Robby Pope, Avery Dirr, Jenna Shambaugh, and Ally Shambaugh, with Julie Mast and Rob Pope as coaches. Four of the five team members had been to Global competitions in the past, but it was Ally’s first Global competition. Rachele Shambaugh was a chaperone for this team. The team’s DI-BOT was a modified “Toto” that had his satellite dish stolen by munchkins once they landed in the Ruby Ghetto after Dorothy left the Emerald City. A storm threw the hot air balloon off course and her friends from Oz; the scarecrow and lion, helped her get her GPS system on Toto to lead her back to the balloon and out of the Ruby Ghetto. She thought she was returning to Kansas, but ended up in Jamaica instead. The special lights of Oz and rhyming of the Ruby Ghetto part of the script were special features of this challenge solution. This team earned a first place ranking at Regional and State competitions in the secondary level. At Globals, they competed against 42 other secondary level teams in this DI-BOT challenge and ranked ninth out of all the best teams in the globe!!! Busco had their name on the jumbotron stating their placement for the whole crowd to see on Saturday night at the final closing ceremony held in the Thompson-Boling Arena. 

Busco has had teams get the first place ranking at the state competition for challenges three years in a row! Busco has also had teams at Globals rank in the top ten for three years in a row

Well, Sunday morning, a tired, but extremely proud, group of 19 people all organized once again for the caravan home to Busco. Once in Busco, we received a police and fire truck escort through town to celebrate our success! What now? Kids are already forming up teams for next year and ideas are floating around about what pins we should design to take as team pins and what kind of problems we want to solve as our problems…coaches and chaperones are thinking of something else – sleep! Until next DI season – thanks to all who support this program and the teams. DI changes them forever in so many positive ways.

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