Ashland, Missouri, May 11, 2012 – The first Equipment Rodeo of the season, sponsored by Crown Power, was held at the Missouri Rural Water Association (MRWA) annual Technical Conference and Trade Show in Columbia May 9, 2012.

This year, MRWA will recognize the top 10 qualifiers at each of two conferences: the Technical Conference and the Boot Heel Expo, which will be held August 28 and 29 in Poplar Bluff. Those qualified include anyone attending the two conferences, with the audience primarily made up of water and wastewater utility operators and managers.

At the Fall Conference during the last full week of October in Lake Ozark, those 20 top performers will compete against one another for the title of “MRWA Equipment Operator of the Year”.

There were a total of 14 participants at the Technical Conference, and almost 50 others tried out the two mini excavators and the backhoe.

MRWA Mapping Specialist Howard Baker set up a course that would challenge the best operators in Missouri. The course consisted of a football, basketball, T-handle bar, trashcan, and a trough.

The purpose of the competition was to test eye-hand coordination, smoothness of operation, speed for completion of tasks, and overall dexterity when operating heavy equipment.

Baker said, “It was astounding how quick some of the (completion) times were in this year’s event.”

The winners were as follows: Roger Barker of Daviess County Public Water Supply District (PWSD) 3 captured 1st place with a remarkable speed of 1 minute 27 seconds; 2nd place went to Ron Brockhaus of Johnson PWSD 2 with a time of 1 minute 33 seconds; and Josh Edson of Clay PWSD 8 rounded out the top three with a time of 1 minute 58 seconds.

The top prize included a trophy and $150; the 2nd place winner was awarded $75; and the 3rd place spot took $25.

The top 10 that qualified for the Finals from the first competition include the following names: Gary Morrison of Johnson County PWSD 2, Josh Edson from Clay County PWSD 8, Rex Brinker also from Clay County PWSD 8, Willie Hon from the City of Hamilton, Ron Brockhaus of Johnson County PWSD 2, Steven Fuller of Flynn Drilling, Heath Hogan of Hogan’s Incorporated, Frank Charles from the City of Urich, Roger Barker of Davies County PWSD 3, and Kenny Johnley of Flynn Drilling.

The Boot Heel Expo in August will focus on technology; so operators in southeast Missouri are encouraged to attend and learn about the latest technology in the water and wastewater industry and compete in the Equipment Rodeo.

The Missouri Rural Water Association is a non-profit organization serving the needs of water and wastewater utilities in Missouri. Its primary services include training and technical assistance.

Competitions of this sort challenge operators to become proficient in their work and help create an atmosphere of fun, while providing education that will improve their knowledge and skills.


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