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E-Splash May 2012 - Tapping Contest
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Illinois Section AWWA - E-Splash - May 2012

 2012 Annual Tapping Contest
Tony Cuzzone, Chair

 This year’s contest was held on Wednesday, March 21 at WaterCon12 with an unprecedented 7 teams competing. One of the teams, from Madison, Wisconsin, accepted our invitation to participate; and, for the first time in the ISAWWA Water Tapping Contest history, we had a women’s team from Illinois competing.

We had some new things taking place this year, including having the contest held on the second floor of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, thus allowing the Exhibit Hall to remain open longer. And we added some excitement by having each team theatrically introduced with strobe lights, a fog machine, spotlights and music. It was just like watching the start of a professional sporting event! Well, maybe close to it . . .

This year we missed having the veterans from Springfield competing. It seems the venerable Springfield City Water Light and Power team has decided to put their tapping machine and materials into storage and have officially retired from the contest. Springfield has given their loyal followers many years of excitement, joy, and sorrow; and they now become a part of ISAWWA history. Thanks to all the past members of the team for all the great moments we’ve enjoyed watching you compete at the state and national levels. The Springfield team has an enviable record; and I have personally enjoyed working with all of you over the years! Hopefully, there are some younger enthusiasts to carry on your tradition.

Several other veteran teams were back, including the Village of Arlington Heights, and the Village of Itasca, "The Dirty Bores,” who have now been together for three years in a row. Also returning for the third year in a row was the City of Elgin. And returning for their second year in a row was the Village of Westmont. This year we saw the arrival of another newly formed team, the Village of Downers Grove as well as the newly formed Illinois women’s team, "The Tapping Queens.” And were they exciting to watch! Here is a brief summary of the teams.

Full House SpectatorsTeam cranker Keith Dollas of the Itasca team felt that being able to work with each other for three years in a row was a definite plus. They were ready to get right back at it, and it seemed as though they were able to work the butterflies out during their first tap, which they were able to complete with no penalties! Their second tap would have been well under 2 minutes if they had not been assessed 14 seconds in penalties. But they enjoyed competing in our event, and I have a strong feeling they will be back again next year. It’s been fun to watch them get better and better each year. Game tapes (DVD) will be available soon guys! The team has Mike Subers as the Copperman, Joe Augello as the Starman, Keith Dollas as the Cranker, and Alan Anderson as their coach. They earned the 5th Place 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. This past year they have been conducting training and practicing with newly formed teams and current teams at their facility, and have been a great inspiration to many. The team had some problems with their first tap, and were assessed some penalties. They tried to improve on their time during their second tap by getting a raw time of 2:12, but they picked up a small penalty. It was unusual, but we saw the team capture the 4th Place Trophy this year because the next team was 8 seconds faster. We enjoy watching them year after year, and truly look forward to their return next year. This famous tapping team has Dave Nordin as the Copperman, Mark Mock as the Starman, Ryan Holthouse as the Cranker, and their Coach is Terry Botterman. Again, thank you to the tapping team and to the Village of Arlington Heights.

Tony Cuzzone making last minute adjustmentsThe next team continues to be a force to be reckoned with. The City of Elgin, just formed two years ago, really heated things up because they were getting close to hitting that 2 minute mark. They completed their first tap with an impressive raw time of 2:15; however, they improved on their 2nd tap to a raw time of 2:04. They picked up a 4 second penalty which gave them a finished time of 2:08. In the end, it was enough to capture the 3rdPlace Trophy. BUT watch out next year! The team has Rob Berg as the Copperman, Terry Smart as the Starman, John Fabrizius as the Cranker, and Kevin Kujak as their Coach. What a great performance!

Then there was the newly formed team, the Village of Downers Grove. Move over Rover, these guys are coming over! Last year David Bird promised he would have a team by this year, and he delivered! For making their first appearance, this team made a lasting impression. Cruising to a raw time of 2:08 on their first tap, it looked like they came with the intention of capturing the top prize! Finishing their second tap with a finished time of 1:57 due to a minor penalty, it looked like things were getting close. But in the end, the Village of Downers Grove captured the 2nd 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 this team’s return next year!

Then came the Village of Westmont. Mike Ramsey had become so enthused working the DEMO and the Water Tapping Contest almost every day at ACE 10 in Chicago two years ago, he was successful in putting a team together last year. He not only put them together, but made them competition worthy. His team continues to look like former Chicago Bears Linemen!!! Wow! They were happy to finish their first tap with a raw time of 1:52 and had NO PENALTIES! Their second tap was assessed 12 seconds in penalties and left them with a finished time of 2:16. But guess what???? Their 1st tap was good enough to capture 1st Place, AND WE HAVE A NEW ISAWWA STATE CHAMPION! What a great climb to the top capturing 4thPlace last year in their first year competing as a team. The team has Jim Cates as the Copperman, Brian Beusse as the Starman, Tony "I’ll Wrip Your Arm Off” Falada as the Cranker, and Mike Ramsey as their Coach. What a great performance! Congratulations! We wish you the very best in the nationals this year in Dallas, Texas!

Having worked with the tapping team from Madison, Wisconsin at Products Day last fall in Algonquin, we decided to invite them to our contest, and they accepted. This was the best thing that ever happened for them. Unbelievably, they completed both taps with NO penalties. They came very close to the 2 minute mark on their first tap by completing it in 2:17. Their second tap was completed in 2:30. The team admitted this was good practice for them as they are planning on making the trip to the nationals at ACE 12. 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, Greg Kolek as the Cranker, and Pat Reagan as their Coach.

And now, making their debut at Watercon 12, were The Tapping Queens. The ISAWWA Water Tapping Contest first Illinois Women’s Tapping Team. Michelle Hoepner has been very instrumental and successful in forming this enthusiastic AND determined team of ladies. Working very hard the past several weeks, the team was ready to show everyone they can tap watermains for time also! They had the entire hall cheering them on as they showed their determination, teamwork, and competiveness. You could feel the enthusiasm and excitement all over the room! They completed their first tap with a respectable time, but managed to shave 43 seconds off their second tap and did it with NO PENALTIES for a time of 6:05. Amazing! This was absolutely great to watch! The ladies were awarded the 1st Place Womens Division Trophy. And guess what? Yes, they will be going to the nationals at ACE 12 in Dallas, Texas. So, the ISAWWA will be represented by our championship men’s team, and championship women’s team. A FIRST! Congratulation, ladies . . . you definitely earned it! The team has Candace Scholz from Strand Associates, Inc. as the Copperman, Michelle Hoepner from Midwest Water Group, Inc. as the Starman, Andrea Putz from City of Chicago Water Management as the Cranker, and Lisa Martini from Lee Jensen Sales as their Coach.

Once again, Ralph Gross, aka Mr. Microphone, was the Master of Ceremonies, and provided exciting play-by-play for the entire event. Ralph was using his very "Primo” portable sound system. Dennis Bowe 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. And a special thank you to Terry Botterman for his much needed assistance and experience.

Jeff Fischer (Mr. Kodak) once again assisted with doing a fabulous job taking pictures. Also, to make the contest fair, honest, and reputable, Lenny Gahgan was the Head Judge with a team that included judges Tim Brodnan, Tim Thilly, and Frank Colletti (JJ). This year our digital clockman was Joe McCarthy, another veteran! Tucker Moore and Chris Lahner took care of running the strobe lights and fog machine, respectively. David Brodnan, David Bird, Kevin McCarthy, Joe McCarthy, Bill Manns, and Doug Cycholl assisted with keeping the tapping area and piping secured and operational at all times. Jeff Musinski assisted with the time sheets, judges, and signage. Marla Braun and Tucker Moore assisted the videographer and Owen Keenan ran the follow spotlight.

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 Dallas, Texas.

After the competition, all of the teams were invited out to Top Cat’s Chill & Grill for refreshments and a great buffet thanks to the coordinated efforts of Tom Skelly and the ISAWWA. Thanks Tom!

Congratulations to all the teams for a very spirited contest. Thank you, again, to all our volunteers, sponsors, and committee members for making this year’s event so exciting and memorable.

See you next year in Springfield!

Village of Downers Grove Tapping Team
City of Elgin Tapping Team
Tapping Queens
Village of Arlington Heights
Village of Itasca
City of Madison Wisconsin
Village of Westmont


FIRST PLACE: Village of Westmont

1ST Tap:
Raw Time 1:52:16
Penalties 0:00:00
Final 1:52:16

2nd Tap:
Raw Time 2:04:69
Penalties 0:12:00
Final 2:16:69

SECOND PLACE: Downers Grove


1ST Tap:
Raw Time 2:08:00
Penalties 0:10:00
Final 2:18:00

2nd Tap:
Raw Time 1:53:62
Penalties 0:04:00
Final 1:57:62

THIRD PLACE: City of Elgin

1ST Tap:
Raw Time 2:15:05
Penalties 0:04:00
Final 2:19:05

2nd Tap:
Raw Time 2:04:88
Penalties 0:04:00
Final 2:08:88

FOURTH PLACE: Arlington Heights

Raw Time 3:23:88
Penalties 0:12:00
Final 3:35:88

Raw Time 2:12:18
Penalties 0:04:00
Final 2:16:18

FIFTH PLACEVillage of Itasca


Raw Time 2:03:16
Penalties 0:14:00
Final 2:17:16

Raw Time 2:41:00
Penalties 0:00:00
Final 2:41:00


Raw Time 2:17:11
Penalties 0:00:00
Final 2:17:11

Raw Time 2:30:41
Penalties 0:00:00
Final 2:30:41



TOWN: Tapping Queens

 1ST Tap:
Raw Time 6:40:50
Penalties 0:08:00
Final 6:48:50

2nd Tap
Raw Time 6:05:56
Penalties 0:00:00
Final 6:05:56


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