Big arms, thick necks and hard hats – this is the world of Texas American Water Works Association pipe tapping competition.
Held as part of the Texas Water 2017 Conference, the TAWWA competition brought together nine crews from water utilities across the state to see who could tap a water pipe in the fastest time. The winner will go on to represent Texas at the AWWA National Pipe Tapping Completion in Philadelphia this summer.
El Paso Water entered the competition for the first time this year. Team members Eddie Pulido, Armando Gonzalez, Norberto Olmos, and Julio Soto diligently readied their tools and donned their hard hats before taking the floor to loud cheers from several El Paso Water employees in the audience.
Each team had two attempts to record the fastest time with the least amount of penalties. The EPWater team recorded a time of 3:34 on their first attempt. They improved with a faster time of 2:41 on their second attempt.
Team leader Eddie Pulido was proud of his crew's performance and energy.
"All of my coworkers are excited to compete," Pulido said.
EPWater Vice President of Operations Alan Shubert was among those cheering from the sidelines. He noted that the team's time was on par with teams from large utilities like Fort Worth.
"They did fantastic," Shubert said. "To be competitive for their first time here is impressive."
As for the team's plans for the future, Pulido said they are ready to compete again.
"We're there. With a little more practice, we'll get better."