2013 Annual ISAWWA Water Tapping Contest
Tony Cuzzone, Chair
E The contest was held on Wednesday, March 20th at Watercon 2013 starting at 5 p.m. This year brought an unprecedented 8 teams. One of the teams, from Madison, Wisconsin, accepted our invitation to compete again, and for the first time in the ISAWWA Water Tapping Contest history, we had an out-of-state women’s team from Lansing, Michigan, competing with our own Illinois women’s team.
Our annual event returned to the Exhibit Hall area on the main floor which seemed to work out well for everyone. So, we again added some excitement. Before the competition began all the teams, including contestants for Meter Madness, were theatrically introduced, which included strobe lights, LED special effects lighting, spotlights, and music. It was just like watching a professional sports channel . . . well, maybe close to it!
Originally, there was the potential of getting 10 teams to compete; however, we finally wound up with a total of 8 teams to compete in our annual Water Tapping Contest. We missed having a team from Springfield competing this year. Hopefully, there are some younger enthusiasts to carry on the tradition next year. We were successful in soliciting Tom Skelly’s time and talent again this year.
-The veteran teams were back, the Village of Arlington Heights, and the Village of Itasca "The Dirty Bores” who have now been together for four years in a row, after a short adjustment period. Last year, returning for the third year in a row, was the newly formed team from two years prior, the City of Elgin. We missed having them competing this year; but, hopefully, we’ll see their return next year. Returning with their game face on for their third year in a row was our 2012 State Champion, The Village of Westmont. The Village of Downers Grove was returning for their second year in a row. However, this year we saw the birth and arrival of another newly formed team, the Village of Wheeling. Yes, believe it or not, Roel Martinez popped back up on the Water Tapping Contest radar, and he was successful in forming a new team! This year also brought us the return of our newly formed women’s team from last year, "Land of Lincoln Ladies Tappers.” Also, returning this year were the "Mad-City Tappers” from Madison, Wisconsin; and, new for Illinois this year, was the Lansing, Michigan, Ladies Tapping Team. And were they exciting to watch! Here is a brief summary of the teams.
Somebody resurfaced and he was successful in putting together a water tapping team. His name? Roel Martinez! Yes, after being away from the competition for a bit, Roel has returned and his team is Moline Water. It was great to see a new team at the contest, and everyone welcomed them with open arms. They had an impressive first tap raw time of 2:42.68, but had 22 seconds in penalties for a final time of 3:04. Problems developed during the second tap, but I think they will figure out how to work those bugs out. For a first showing they did extremely well, and we look forward to their return next year. The team has Randy Moritz as the Copperman, Ryan Rangel as the Starman, Nick Posateri as the Cranker, and Roel Martinez as their coach. They earned the 5th Place Trophy. We also would like to recognize Greg Swanson from Moline for working with helping to formulate the team.
The Village of Itasca team was ready to get right back at it. Being able to work with each other, and be together for four years in a row, Keith Dollas felt was a definite plus, although one member was new, the Copperman. Their second tap was better than the first, as they were getting close to the 2 minute mark with a raw time of 2:13. They had fun and also enjoyed competing in our event, and I know they will be back again next year. It’s fun to continue watching them get better and better every year. I see them next year seriously moving up the time slot. Game tapes (DVD) will be available soon guys! The team has Mike Kusles as the Copperman, Joe Augello as the Starman, Keith Dollas as the Cranker, and Alan Anderson as their coach. They earned the 4th Place Trophy. We also would like to thank Mike Subers from Itasca for continuing to work with the team.
Then there was The Village of Downers Grove, having just formed the year before and returning for their second year in a row. Move over Rover, these guys are coming over! The first tap didn’t go as well as they would have liked, but they were cruising to a raw time of 2:03 on their second tap, and no penalties! It looked like they had intentions on capturing the top prize! Finishing their second tap wound up putting them in 1st Place; but, in the end, The Village of Downers Grove captured the 3rd Place Trophy. The team has Ed Lewandowski as the Copperman, John Pfursich as the Starman, Dante Rigg as the Cranker, and Keith Kenning as their Coach. Looking forward to your return next year!
This next team continues to be a force to be reckoned with - The Village of Westmont, our 2012 State Champions! Mike Ramsey and his team were returning for the third year in a row. Honestly, his team continues to look like former Chicago Bears linemen!!! They had some penalties that set them back just a little in their first tap, but they were happy to finish their second tap with a raw time of 1:44, even with Brian being "beaned” in the head by the wrench during the first tap. After being treated with first aid he returned with determination to do the second tap. While this earned them the 2ndPlace Trophy this year, what a great climb to the top capturing 1stPlace last year after having formed only two years ago. Guess who you KNOW will be back next year! The team has Jim Cates as the Copperman, Brian Beusse as the Starman, Tony "Get outta my Face” Falada as the Cranker, and Mike Ramsey as their Coach. They earned the 2ndPlace Trophy.
I continue to have the deepest respect and pride for our next team, the Village of Arlington Heights. These guys have been in the ISAWWA competition since 1999, and have gone on to the National level competition also. This past year they continued conducting training and practicing with the newly formed teams and current teams at their facility, and have been a great inspiration to many. This year they came with their game face ON, and a new Starman. The team had a very impressive time of 1:33 with their first tap. They tried to improve on their time during their second tap, were assessed no penalties, but their first tap time was good enough. So, the Village of Arlington Heights has re-captured 1st Place and they are our NEW STATE CHAMPIONS! This celebrated tapping team has Dave Nordin as the Copperman, John Preucil as the Starman, Ryan Holthouse as the Cranker, and their Coach is Terry Botterman. Again, thank you to the tapping team, Public Works Director Scott Shirley and, and the Village of Arlington Heights. What a performance! Congratulations! We wish you the very best in the Nationals this year in Denver, Colorado! We had to give Dennis Bowe oxygen because he got so excited! Just kidding.
Having worked with the tapping team from Madison, Wisconsin at Products Day in Algonquin almost two years ago, and having them compete with us last year, we decided to invite them to our contest again, and they accepted. This was good for them because they got a good feel of the competition before they travel to ACE. Unbelievably, they completed the first tap with NO penalties and a time of 1:50. Their second tap had a better raw time, but they were assessed 14 seconds in penalties. The team admitted this was good practice for them as they are planning on making the trip to the Nationals at ACE 13. We enjoyed having them compete with our teams, and they enjoyed our camaraderie and hospitality. They were awarded a Certificate of Appreciation. The team has Don Russell as the Copperman, Bob Kempfer as the Starman, Dave Laux as the Cranker, and Greg Kolek as their Coach. We also would like to recognize John Hewitt from Madison, Wisconsin for coordinating all the arrangements with us.
And then, making their appearance for the second year in a row, The Land of Lincoln Ladies Tappers - the ISAWWA Water Tapping Contest first women’s tapping team. Michelle Harrod was very instrumental and successful in forming this enthusiastic AND determined team of ladies. Working very hard for several weeks, the team was ready to show everyone they can also tap water mains for time. They completed their first tap with a respectable time, shaving more than 2 minutes off their time from last year. Their second tap was 1 second faster for a time of 3:52. Amazingly, they finished both taps with NO PENALTIES! This was absolutely great to watch! The ladies were awarded the 1stPlace Womens Division Trophy. And yes, they will be going to the Nationals at ACE 13 in Denver, Colorado. So, the ISAWWA will once again be represented by our championship men’s team, and championship women’s team. Congratulations, ladies! The team has Candace Scholz from Strand Associates, Inc. as the Copperman, Michelle Harrod from Midwest Water Group, Inc. as the Starman, Andrea Putz from the City of Chicago Water Management as the Cranker, and Lisa Martini from Lee Jensen Sales as their Coach.
This year, for the first time, we invited another ladies tapping team from out of state to join our competition. An invitation was extended to the Lansing, Michigan, Ladies Tapping Team and they accepted. Their first tap had some problems, but they came back in their second tap with a vengeance! They finished with a raw time of 2:31, but were assessed 14 seconds in penalties. But you should see them go! WOW! It was also gratifying to see their interaction with our ladies team, as well as all the other teams. These ladies won their state title and will also be travelling to ACE 13. They were awarded a Certificate of Appreciation. We enjoyed having them make the trip and compete with our ladies, and they enjoyed having the opportunity of being with us. They even gave many of us their new team tee shirts. We hope they can return again next year! The team has Maggie Rich as the Copperman, Catherine Coffee as the Starman, Kelly Gleason as the Cranker, and Remecho Sanders as their Coach. We also would like to recognize Remecho Sanders from Lansing, Michigan, for coordinating all the arrangements with us. Thanks Remecho!
Once again, Ralph Gross, aka Mr. Microphone, was the Master of Ceremonies, and provided exciting play-by-play to the entire event. This year we were utilizing a very "Primo” P.A. portable sound system. Dennis Bowe, my Co-Chair did an outstanding job working with me and pulling everything together to help make this year’s contest, once again, truly one of the best yet! Thanks to the manufacturers and distributors who donated all the items and materials needed to help offset many of the costs.
Jeff Fischer (Mr. Kodak) once again assisted with doing a fabulous job taking pictures, as did our Interns Alexis Nichols taking stills and Michael Kasiurak doing the videography. Also, to make the contest fair, honest, and reputable, Lenny Gahgan was the Head Judge who worked with his judges Tim Thilly, Dean Gorter, and Bill Manns. This year our digital clockman was Joe McCarthy, another veteran! Chris Lahner took care of running the LED and strobe lights, and helping in the contest area. Owen Keenan ran the follow spotlight. Bob Mroz, Jack Goblet, George Harrison, Jim Duncan, Tom House, Mark Mock, Jim Ozimek, Rich Figurelli, Doug Cycholl, David Bird, and Kevin McCarthy assisted with keeping the tapping area and piping secured and operational at all times. Jeff Musinski assisted with the time sheets, judges, signage, and acted as the floor manager.
We appreciate all the help we receive from our sponsors, the committee, the teams, and the CWLP crews in getting the pipe and carpets and other tapping materials set up for the contest. This event helps bring competitive staff together from all departments in public works, whether they work in the public or private sector, in the field, or in the office. The teams at the Illinois contest are offered free hotel rooms to help defray costs. The winning team also gets up to $6,000 toward travel expenses for the National AWWA competition. This year the winning teams will get up to $1,500 per person toward travel expenses to the National AWWA Convention which is in Denver, Colorado.
After the competition, all of the teams were invited out to Capital City Bar & Grill for refreshments and a great buffet thanks to the coordinated efforts of Tom Skelly and the ISAWWA. Thanks, Tom! And thank you to Laurie Dougherty, ISAWWA Executive Director, and her fine staff, Lisa Hoffhines and Sandi McGinnis for all their professional assistance.
Congratulations to all the teams for a very spirited contest. Thank you again to all our volunteers, sponsors, and committee for making this year’s event so exciting and memorable. We’ll see you next year in Springfield!
The official contest results are below in PDF and can be downloaded. Click here to view the slide show of many of the WATERCON 2013 photos.