Last night we took a long bus ride out to Fort Mason to check out the final rounds of the Robot Fighting League's Combots National Championship. SFist Chuck reminded us to make it out, and SFist Emily had so much fun last year, we decided it was a must-cover event. Besides, they had nachos and Pabst Blue Ribbon on hand.

Our first reaction was that we hadn't seen so many kids in one place in San Francisco for a long time. Robot fighting is definitely a family sport. That was echoed in the makeup of the teams -- some were families, others were educators and students and other were just gearheads who in another age might have spent their time suping-up dirt racers instead of building high-tech, battle-hardened death contraptions.

Outside the arena, Cyclecide was giving a demonstration of their flaming V8 blender, making healthy fruit smoothies while spitting vodka into the jets of flames and dancing with the cheerleaders in skirts made from caution tape and beer cans. Jamba Juice should be so exciting. Inside the cavernous expo haul, it was already getting late, and fans and competitors were fighting fatigue while waiting anxiously to crown a winner. $10,000 was on the line in the heavyweight division, but the real prize was the Combots Cup, a crucible-and-chalice from which the champion could relish drinks from for a year.

Photo of the heavyweight championship bout between Sewer Snake and Karcas 2 by Flickr user _jpg_. For more photos, check the Flickr tag combots.