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WaterOne Techs Take Top Honors at Kansas AWWA Competitions
WaterOne Technicians swept the competition in several events at the Kansas AWWA conference in Wichita, KS on Thursday, August 31st.
Operations Tech I and former Meter Reader Rudy Holden took first place in the statewide Meter Madness competition for the second year in a row. Meter Madness is a race against the clock to reassemble a functional water meter from a bucket of parts in the fastest time. Rudy competed at the National Competition in July representing Kansas after winning Meter Madness at KsAWWA in 2016, and his recent victory means he'll be returning to the national AWWA conference in Las Vegas to compete against the world's fastest meter assemblers.
A team from WaterOne also took first place in the Hydrant Hysteria competition, marking the first time our organization has competed in this contest.
Similar to Meter Madness, Hydrant Hysteria is a timed contest that has teams of two reassembling a fire hydrant. WaterOne's team consisted of Marcus Cook, Distribution Tech 2-3, and Spencer Plush, Distribution Tech 1-3. Utility Foreman Steve McMullen was the coach for the team.
"We got an official competition hydrant manufactured by Clow to practice with, which are a little different than the hydrants used by WaterOne," said Steve. "Marcus and Spencer would practice building it for about an hour at a time on rainy days or whenever they had a chance."
Together, the team worked out strategies for the most effective way to quickly assemble it at the competition. "There's a lot of little parts to it, and a number of hand tools are required. We really benefited from all the practice," said Marcus. Spencer agreed. "Practicing is what put us ahead of the other teams," he said. "Steve was a good coach. He kept us focused and was good moral support." (SEE VIDEO)
With Hydrant Hysteria in the bag, Spencer Plush followed up the victory by making a spur of the moment choice to compete in - and unexpectedly win - the Backhoe Rodeo competition. In Backhoe Rodeo, a tennis ball is hung from the bucket of a backhoe by a string and placed on top of a traffic cone. The operator is timed on how fast they can precisely move and set the tennis ball on a different cone by controlling the backhoe bucket.
"I don't actually use a backhoe at WaterOne, so it was pretty funny," Spencer said.
Spencer went up against more than a dozen utility professionals and scored first place with a time of 26.67 seconds, beating the second-fastest by a full second.
"I practice with the equipment at work sometimes when I get a chance, so I had a little experience with the controls. But it's all about technique and patience to keep the ball steady. There's a lot of strategy to it," Spencer said.
WaterOne is an independent, non-profit water utility, proudly serving 400,000+ customers in the Johnson County area.
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