Oregon Site of Northwest Regional Locate Rodeo

(From the July/ August issue of Underground Focus Magazine)

spotlight-stagingIn Oregon, 29 utility locate professionals demonstrated their skills in the third annual Northwest Regional Utility Locate Rodeo held June 6-7 at Linfield College in McMinnville, Or.

Participants had 12 minutes to complete a locate in one of four divisions including Gas, Electric, Water, and Communications. A bonus event, “Locate from Hell”, further challenged their skills with only three minutes to locate what could be any type of utility.

The event is under the leadership of Chairperson Jamie Stencil of Comcast. Stencil and a dedicated committee supported by the Oregon Utility Notification Center (OUNC) gathered a group of 58 volunteers to make the event a success. The OUNC board decided in 2006 to host the event in Oregon to give West Coast folks a chance to experience an event that recognizes those within the locating industry for their professionalism and often demanding job. First-place winners in each division received $500 in prize money and $1300 towards their trip to the International Rodeo in Atlanta. Prizes were also awarded to second and third place locaters in each division, as well as first-place in the Locate from Hell.

spotlight-gas-commAs part of the educational portion of the Northwest Rodeo, Paul Larkin, an instructor with Staking University in Manteno, Ill., had a packed house for his full day class on the day before the competition. “We received great feedback from everyone who attended the seminar. Paul did a great job,” Stencil said. “One city employee said that he got so much out of the class that he was going to sign up his entire department next year.” Stencil and Kimberly Lakey, administrative assistant at OUNC, noted that all participants and volunteers had positive comments about the event. “They noted that it was well organized and smooth running, but very challenging,” Stencil said.

spotlight-powrStencil also praised his committee members for their dedication and hard work. “As the event grew closer, I didn’t feel the pressure that I had felt in the years past because of all the hard work of the committee members. They took on a huge work load for the event on top of their existing jobs,” he said.

All in all, Stencil called this one of the best rodeo events to date. “The event is important to bring notoriety to the locators who have a tremendous responsibility marking accurately to save lives,” he said. “It is a chance for locaters to show off their locating skills while creating a competitive motivation to better their accuracy and skills.”

Plans are underway for the 2009 event!!!!!!!