A dramatic finish at the National Gas Rodeo

You’ve probably never seen an excavator driver trying to pick up a basketball in his bucket to make a basket – but it’s something you might see if you attend the National Gas Rodeo.

The 25th annual rodeo, which took place on Saturday, August 29, 2015 in Colorado Springs, CO, drew teams from across the nation to compete in events like these, which test the agility, precision and team work of two and four-man gas utility crews.  While you’ll never see anything like this in the field, it’s a test that simulates the kind of accuracy and communication that gas crews need when completing real gas work, and it’s just one of the challenges that crews partake in during the competition.

The RI Regulators, a four man team from National Grid RI, represented us at the rodeo this year placing 6th out of 28 teams in their division. It’s two places higher than last year – and it didn’t come easy.

During a qualification challenge that required they complete a digging exercise, one of their shovels broke, which landed them near the back of the pack in the standings. Only ten teams make it to the final relay round, so it meant they needed to be perfect on the final “wildcat” challenge – a mystery challenge of which only the judges know the details.

Luckily for us, that challenge ended up being a timed “site set up” where teams were asked to place safety cones and equipment around a mock work site in the proper way. As a testament to our gas crew’s knowledge and commitment to safe practices – our team came in 1st during this challenge,  moving us into the 10th  spot to complete  in the final relay!

“It was a real show of resolve on behalf of our guys,” said Fred Amaral, the RI Director who oversees the crew members.

The Regulators came in 3rd place during the final relay, which included the basketball drill, as well as challenges that involved backing a trailer, squeezing off a pressurized pipe, and completing a regulator by-pass.  This put them into 6th place at the end of the overall competition. Take a look at these videos to see the team in action…

The RI Regulator team included Phil Demelo,  Frank DeOliveira, Russell Barron, Justin Dugas, Shawn Lenihan, Jared Clapp and Paul Mancone Jr.

Congrats to the team for demonstrating National Grid’s skills and professionalism on the national stage.

“I’m very proud of how the team came together after suffering the broken shovel,” said Supervisor Phil Demelo. “Rhode Island proved that they are true competitors. I’m looking forward to seeing them on the podium next year.”

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