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HDDR, Showplace for New Technology

by Drew L. Wilson

The world of Trenchless Technology descended on the peaceful southern town of Perry Georgia, March 5, for the third annual Horizontal Directional Drilling Rodeo. The mixing of foreign accents with southern drawl, and state of the art technology with a landscape of pine and peach orchards, was just part of what made this rodeo unique.

Thirty-two teams competed for over $100,000 in prizes and cash to claim bragging rights of the best drilling crew in the world.

There are hundreds of construction trade shows held each year but none have the excitement of live competition found at the Directional Drilling Rodeo. Manufactures and suppliers have to do much more than set up a booth and give a sales pitch about their latest breakthrough technology. Their new gizmos are put to the test in front of their colleagues and hundreds of spectators to prove their effectiveness in the field under real working conditions. Watching the action coupled with the spirit of competition is icing on the cake.

The crews are competing in a timed event to bore a straight line to a target 200 feet away and then hook onto a four-inch diameter piece of polyethylene pipe and pull it back through the boar. The tough part is that the target is a mere 12" in diameter and time deductions are factored in for infractions down to the inch on accuracy. It is surprising how many of the crews actually hit the target right on.

The Rodeo, sponsored by Trenchless Technology Inc., was held at the Georgia National Fairgrounds. Rice Tunneling & Boring, of Duncanville Texas, won the competition with an adjusted time of 1:04:11. It was more than 20 minutes better than the runner-up crew, B&W Backhoe 1 of Denton, Texas, which posted a time of 1:25:41. Rounding out the top six were Sure Shot of Lancaster, Ohio, 1:36:18; Mid-South Pipeline of Richmond Hill, Ga., 1:48:03; Cross Country Underground of Mt. Lake, Minn., 1:49:14; and Hodge Enterprises 2 of Loganville, Ga., 2:00:17. In all, 32 crews competed, the largest number of competitors to date.

For its winning efforts, Rice Tunneling & Boring, received $65,000 in cash and prizes, including a $16,500 DigiTrak Eclipse locating system, $10,000 in Baroid Bore-Gel and $10,000 in cash from Trenchless Technology Inc. ($5,000) and Radiodetection ($5,000). Rice crews finished first and third at the first Rodeo in Grapevine, Texas, and followed that with a fourth-place finish last year.

In addition to the competition, the Rodeo, which attracted 900 visitors, featured a host of exhibitors and a full day of educational seminars. The more than 50 exhibitors included Drilltube International, Case Corp. Mfg., Vermeer Mfg. Co., Baroid Industrial Drilling Products, Melfred Borzall, and McElroy Mfg.

Of the MMI products present at the Rodeo, the Line Tamer had the best opportunity to show off. The Line Tamer is used to straighten and re-round coiled pipe. A crowd gathered each time the machine was fired up and put into action. It straightened 250' sections of pipe, one after another, with no flaws. MMI's 28 TracStar was also on hand and gave many people in the industry their first look at a self-contained, self-propelled, all-terrain hydraulic fusion machine.

The 2002 Rodeo will be held at the Texas Motor Speedway in Dallas/Ft. Worth.

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Contact Information:
McElroy PR and Marketing Department
E-mail: marketing@mcelroy.com

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