A Rodeo Without a Horse

By Nathan Stone

With the weather turning towards the colder, people rely on their furnaces to heat homes and stay warm.  Making this possible are the countless gas workers who keep the lines running and clear in the at times harshest of conditions.

With this in mind, some gas workers in Denver got together in 1996 and created the National Gas Rodeo, which according to the organization, is “the proving ground for the elite gas crews from across the United States. The intense competition and camaraderie of the Rodeo offer competitors an opportunity to showcase their skills and professionalism.”

Eastern gas operators (l to r): Mario Palleschi and John Vanchance (Schenectady), Tom Jozifek (Gloversville), Albert Miller and Shane Brozowski (Schenectady)

In August, Schenectady gas supervisor Pat White and team Full Seal Domination went to participate against other gas mechanics from across the country to showcase their skillsets in everyday tasks.  The team consisted of team captain Tom Jozifek, Mario Palleschi, Albert Miller, John Vanchance, and Shane Brozowski (alternate).

Day one of the Rodeo consisted of four events (all timed):

  • Pipe cut– team has to cut a 6” piece of steel with 4-wheel cutters
  • Meter set– team has to assemble a replica of an everyday meter set
  • Service run– team must run a service from the main to the riser and gas it up in the fastest time
  • Hand dig– team must dig out a 3 foot cubed steel container filled with sand and gravel mix to find five dots in the bottom.

The ten fastest teams make it to day two as well as a Wild Card winner. Team Full Seal Domination broke their cutters on the Pipe Cut and needed to compete in the Wild Card event. This event, one individual had to operate a backhoe and lift buckets of water with holes in the bottom of them to fill a tube and raise a ball to a set destination. Tom Jozifek competed and won this event which put his team into the finals.


The finals consist of another set of timed events to determine the winner.

Full Seal Domination finished in 10th place out of 25 teams, their best finish ever!


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