[VIDEO] Utility Crews Demonstrate Extraordinary Skills at National Gas Rodeo

2018 National Gas Rodeo crowned two teams from Spire Energy as champions from 63 teams demonstrating the best expertise and professionalism of gas utility workers

The 2018 National Gas Rodeo, organized by MEA Energy Association and sponsored in part by CASE Construction Equipment, held its annual two- and four-person team championship events September 13-15 in Kansas City, Missouri.

The 2018 overall Rodeo champion in the two-person field was Lil’ Gashouse Gang (Steve Bouse, Barry Hicks and Jeff Busch [alternate]) of Spire. Mercaptan ‘Merica (Joshua Jaskolski and Steve Scheffel) of Alliant Energy took second place, while the High Pressure Hitmen (Reece Graves, Andy Andrews, Caleb Overton [alternate] and Scott Overcash [alternate]) from Duke Energy/Piedmont Natural Gas took third place.

The four-person champion for 2018 was Gashouse Gang (Aaron Witt, Jon Loughary, Brandon Vickery, Rob Hayes and Don Jackson [alternate]) from Spire. Last year’s champions, Intense Ignition — also from Spire — took second place (featuring Korey Ross, Dylan Middleton, Justin Wald, Jeff Smith, and Seth Golay [alternate]). The Methane Maniacs (Keith Huschle, Dale Stallman, James Tylka, Zac Reis, and Aaron Sanders [alternate]) of Ameren Illinois took third.

The National Gas Rodeo draws teams from utility companies across the United States, and featured a record 63 teams and almost 700 total spectators and supporters for the 28th year of the event. The two- and four-person teams compete in various skill tests focused on safe and time-efficient performance — including a pipe-cutting contest, a meter set, a service installation and a hand digging contest. The top 12 teams in those events then competed in a relay event featuring equipment and hand/tool skills to determine the final winner.

“This was one of the most competitive rodeos we’ve ever seen, with numerous records broken in the skills competitions and a crowd that felt like a major professional sporting event at times,” says Ed Brenton, product marketing manager, CASE Construction Equipment. “The skill and dedication of the gas industry professionals who participate continues to set a precedent for excellence in the skilled trades.”

The event was further supported by equipment and personnel from CASE dealer Victor L. Phillips Company. The event was also sponsored by K.R. Swerdfeger Construction, Inc., Sealweld/VAL-TEX, Custom Truck One Source, Honeywell and IBEW Local 304. This year’s National Gas Rodeo was hosted by Spire.

For more information on the Rodeo, and to find out how to enter the competition, visit nationalgasrodeo.org.