Who’s number one? Who’s the best at what they do? That’s a question people have been asking themselves since the Greeks organized the first Olympic games. And while it wasn’t televised like the Olympics in Rio, the 2016 International Utility Locate Rodeo showcased the best of the best and crowned some champions!
Texas811 hosted the 2016 event, which was held on the grounds of the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). The event showcased the skills of the men and women who actually locate those underground utility lines and cables. The ability to accurately and quickly locate these buried lines is vitally important to public safety. In Texas, it’s also the law that locates be done before any digging begins at a depth of 16” or greater.
The rodeo course was spread across the UTA campus and featured all kinds of locates, from water to gas to electric to telecommunications and so on, including one with the dreadful name of “The Locate from Hell!” Line locators from around the United States competed against each other and the course, locating underground lines of all types, and were judged on speed, accuracy and other factors.
The 81 competitors were themselves winners of regional contests, advancing to the big show in Arlington. They came from 17 different states and represented more than 38 participating companies and stakeholder groups.
While all of the action was out on the course, there was plenty going on behind the scenes to make
it all run smoothly. The event used the assistance of more than 120 volunteers, from judges to the people who drove the golf carts ferrying contestants around the large campus. As with the competitors,
these volunteers came from across the country and represented more than 30 companies and stakeholder groups.
Texas811 shout-outs go to Texas811’ s Director of Damage Prevention JimBob Sims and Image Manager Shakheana Fields, who organized the whole show; Texas811 Swag’n Master David Medina, who managed to feed lunch to more than 200 people on site; Texas811’s Jason and Jared Crocker, who lugged camera gear in the blazing sun to shoot video and photographs; and Texas811’s Cindy Graham, who kept the “base camp” running smoothly throughout the day.
“Making an event like this happen is a lot like planning the construction of a big building,” said Sims. “You have to start with a rock solid foundation before you can start adding the bells and whistles.”
As part of that rock solid foundation, Texas811 would like to give a big Texas “thank you” to our sponsors: Rust-Oleum, USIC, Cox Utility Services Inc., Krylon Industrial, Nulca, 3M, SPX Radiodetection, Vivax/Metrotech, McLaughlin, Subsite Electronics, CGA, Staking University, HALFF, Benton, EGW, South Dakota 811, Arkansas One Call, Illinois One Call, Georgia 811, South Carolina 811, Ohio Utilities Protection Service, S&N Communications, EGW, Heath Consultants, Atmos Energy, Green Equipment Company and Nline Traffic (for the traffic cones).
And last, but certainly not least, our most distinguished volunteers:
2016 Event Site Committee:
• Alison Goodgame, Consultant
• Rick Routh, Liaison Manager, Georgia 811
• Holly Files, Liaison Director, Georgia 811
• Carlton Sellers, Subsurface Utility Engineering Manager
• Eddie Stevens, Training and Operator Qualification Manager, Benton GA Inc.
• Sharon Holder, Owner, Utilities 1st, LLC
2016 Master Judges:
• Ron Peterson, President, Baker-Peterson, LLC
• Jim Weldon, Retired, Manager of Cable Locating and Claims, Georgia Power
• Chris Stovall, EVP, COO, Texas811
• Pete Pedersen, Compliance Manager, Atmos Energy Mid-Tex Division
Congratulations from Texas811 to everyone who won and placed. We hope to see you in 2017! Until
then, you can enjoy our captivating Rodeo recap video at https://aligningchange.wistia.com/me