Have you ever been to the rodeo? I don’t mean the one I watch on ESPN with the bull riders. I mean the natural gas rodeo. I’m talking about the natural gas rodeo being held in Fairview, Illinois on September 25-26.
The rodeo began in 1990 with 12 events held at the ballpark next to Denver’s Arapahoe Generating Station. After the first year, the rodeo was narrowed down to the relay and four other events. Those other four events are:
- Dig Box
By far, the most popular event. Gas journeymen dig down four feet to find a buried box, then refill the hole – all done in a flurry of flying dust and dirt and shovels.
- Gate Valve
Participants open and then close a gas valve as fast as possible.
- Pipe Cut
Competitors have to pick up a pair of pipe cutters and cut a piece of 6″ gas pipe. The record time for that event is a speedy 15.0 seconds (held by Public Service of Colorado’s “Rocky Mountain Bad Gas” Randy Utecht, A. J. Morris, Rich Muench, and Joe Copland).
- Meter Set
Contestants build a gas meter set-up from scratch.
The event went national in 1995 and involved eight teams from around the country. In 1999 the event moved to its current home in Fairview. Here’s the video from last year’s opening ceremonies.