Problem is i do not have the electronic skills needed to build any robot.
That can be acquired step by step.
I do realize there is alot of sentamental value to some folks as ive talked to many former competitors about buying one out of their old fleet and they could not part with their old babies which i can respect and relate too.
All the more reason to build your own
[...] so i feel this is my best bet for sucess in this dream of mine.
I have to agree with ofnature
here. Whether you just want to drive it around or not, knowing each detail about it is important and you don't get that from a bought dream.
If you win... Perhaps you were just lucky getting/buying a good vehicle, so a hollow victory.
The more likely scenario for starters - you not winning - and you will rationalize it with "I got a bad one, not my fault" or something similar, at least towards yourself.
If you're responsible for each nut and bolt on this thing, it will be, if not up close, at least very personal
While called a robot, combat robots are not, they're ROVers (Remote Operated Vehicles), or jazzed up R/C vehicles if you like and as such, will not take any extreme amount of electronics (which you can get help on here anyway). No programming at all is required (unless you really want to) and you claim to be mechanically adept - It sure smells like building is the right way forward for you.