Announcing the 2019 National Gas Rodeo Championship Teams

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The “Dirt Demons”, a four-person team, and “Methane Rangers”, a two-person team, are the 2019 National Gas Rodeo Champions. Both teams represented Spire at this annual competition promoting the skills and teamwork of those working in the natural gas delivery industry.

2019 National Gas Rodeo Champions, 2- and 4-person teams

The Spirit of the Rodeo Award was presented to “Native Gas” representing Navaho Tribal Utility Authority, Ariz. for their exemplary sportsmanship.

MEA Energy Association (MEA) is pleased to announce that 58 teams from 18 different natural gas distribution companies competed in the 29th annual National Gas Rodeo at Heart of America Pop Warner Football Field in Independence, Missouri.

“The rodeo gets better every year,” says John Gann, program services vice president, MEA. “We are seeing two generations of gas workers competing. We have all-female teams, community college student teams, first-time teams and, of course, returning champions. The camaraderie and sportsmanship are heartwarming. Every year we have records being broken and teams continue to move around the leader board.”

All 35 two-person teams and 23 four-person teams were challenged to compete in several skills-based events including: safely and quickly install a service line, dig a pit by hand, cut a six-inch metal pipe, and assemble a meter set during the qualifying round. The top 12 two- and four-person teams moved on to compete in the relay with six tasks, including moving an egg with a backhoe.

The teams prepare for this annual event with several hours of practice and strategizing; some utilities host internal rodeos before entering to compete at the National Gas Rodeo.

FASTEST TIMES: Qualifying Events and Relay
Two-Person Field

  • Hand Dig: “Methane Rangers”, Spire Missouri East
  • Service Installation: “Methane Rangers”, Spire Missouri East
  • Pipe Cut: “Manteca Gas Rats”, Pacific Gas & Electric, Calif. with a new record of 8.62 seconds
  • Meter Set: “Lil’ Gashouse Gang”, Spire Missouri East with a new record of 31.27 seconds
  • Relay: “The Legends”, Spire Alabama

Four-Person Field

  • Hand Dig: “Rocky Mountain Methane”, Colorado Springs Utilities
  • Service Installation: “Dirt Demons”, Spire Missouri East with a new record of 58.22 seconds
  • Pipe Cut: “Yosemite”, IBEW Local Union 1245, Calif. with a new record of 5.47 seconds
  • Meter Set: “Gashouse Gang”, Spire Missouri East with a new record of 25.62 seconds
  • Relay: “Gas House Gorillas”, City Utilities of Springfield, Mo.

2019 NATIONAL GAS RODEO CHAMPIONS:

Two-Person Field
1st Place: “Methane Rangers”, Spire Missouri East
Jason Ficke
Jimmy Barnard
Kevin Fahnestock (alternate)

2nd Place: “Lil’ Gashouse Gang”, Spire Missouri East
Stephen Bouse
Barry Hicks
Jeff Bush (alternate)

3rd Place: “The Legends”, Spire Alabama
Derrik Hogland
Daniel Young
Britt Taunton (alternate)
Brett Goggans (alternate)

Four-Person Field
1st Place: “Dirt Demons”, Spire Missouri East
James Grofe
Cody Hammond
Carl Monda
Devron Rampani
Kyle Witt (alternate)

2nd Place: “Gashouse Gang”, Spire Missouri East
Dakota Connell
Aaron Witt
Jon Loughary
Brandon Vickery
Don Jackson (alternate)

3rd Place: “Methane Maniacs”, Ameren Illinois
Zachary Reis
Dale Stallmann
Jim Tylka
Keith Huschle
Josh Bingheim (alternate)

The Spirit of the Rodeo Award was presented to “Native Gas” representing Navaho Tribal Utility Authority, Ariz. for their exemplary sportsmanship.

The intense competition and camaraderie of the National Gas Rodeo offer natural gas utilities from across the country an opportunity to showcase their teamwork, skills, and professionalism. Participation in the National Gas Rodeo plays an important role in developing a mindset of efficiency, proficiency, and safety when working in the natural gas field. Learn more about the National Gas Rodeo at nationalgasrodeo.org.

The National Gas Rodeo is a program of MEA. The rodeo is made possible through the premier level support of CASE Construction, Centuri, K.R. Swerdfeger Construction, Inc. and Mustang Manufacturing. Individual events were sponsored by Altec, Honeywell, IBEW Local 304, Parker Stockstill Construction and US Infrastructure Company (USIC). This year’s National Gas Rodeo was hosted by Spire.

About MEA Energy Association:
MEA Energy Association serves the people that deliver electricity and natural gas to homes and businesses. We were founded as a trade association 114 years ago by distribution utilities whose vision was to improve safety and efficiency. Today, we fulfill the same purpose through education, leadership development, and industry connections. Energy delivery companies, contractors, and suppliers around the country benefit from our 55 summits, roundtables, and webinars, 400+ online technical courses, safety assessments, evaluator training, operator qualification compliance tools, and leadership courses for field personnel.

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Elizabeth Fischer
MEA Energy Association
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