Gibbard from Local 580, New York City, is the first woman
in five years to attempt the column climb event.
Ironworkers union chapters
from around the northeast U.S. and Canada came together for the
16th Ironworkers Festival, held on a hot, sunny and windy July 21
at the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort.
This year's Ultimate
Ironworker honor went to Devis Caceres from Local 580, New York
The Ultimate Retiree
trophy went to Al Stanley from Local 12, Albany.
Local 440 retiree Bill
Cook, who helped coordinate this year's festival, said attendance
and union participation is down from prior years. It took place
on the same day as other large community events in the area, including
the opening of the Ogdensburg Seaway Festival, Colton's summer festival,
the Hammond Scottish Festival and Maplestock in Waddington.
Cook and other volunteers
took the reins from Mike Swamp, also a Local 440 retiree who for
years was a pillar of the Ironworkers Festival.
"There's not as
many members as previous years, not as many spectators. But it went
well as far as I can see," said Cook, a former apprentice instructor.
He said next year he
wants to try and get more apprentices to participate.
Despite the lower attendance,
Cook was grateful for the favorable weather.
to have a good day. I don't ever remember it being rained out,"
Ironworker Devis Caceres from Ironworkers Local 580, New York
City, poses for a photo along with J.P. Vallejo, Kevin Molina,
Lucas Caceres and Kenneth Vallejo.
The festival's capstone
event, the column climb, saw a handful of union members scaling
a 30-foot I-beam with their hands and feet. Tom Bannister, who won
last year's event, sprinted up in 6.47 seconds. He is a member from
Local 6 out of Buffalo. Second place went to Caceres with a time
of 10.37. And third place went to Steve Barnes from Local 765, Ottawa.
Carly Gibbard from Local 580 was the first woman in five years to
attempt the column climb, but she didn't make it all the way to
the top, and was greeted with hugs and congratulations from her
fellow ironworkers when she returned to the ground.
In the rivet toss event,
competitors use tongs to throw rivets while a teammate on a scaffold
tries to catch them with a metal cone. The team of Jeff Laxton and
Caceres took first place. Bill Ferrero and Dennis Milton from Local
580 took second, and Jerome Cerverizzo took third.
Papineau from Local 440 keeps balance as he takes the beam
In the knot-tying event,
where competitors go against a clock to see who can in the shortest
time tie a knot with rope that will suspend a sledgehammer. Milton
was the overall winner. Caceres took second and Stanley finished
In the bolt toss event,
participants try to toss as many bolts as they can into a bag with
an opening about five or six inches wide that's suspended about
10 or 12 feet above the ground. The three winners were in a three-way
tie for first place -- Paul Jacobs, Lakota Crouse and Cerverizzo.
The beam walk is a timed
event where competitors run across a narrow I-beam and affix a metal
plate at the other end with four bolts. Caceres won first place,
Bannister second and Paul Jacobs third.
For the spud throw, participants
throw five wrenches that are sharp at one end and aim for a bull's
eye. Laxton was the winner, with Stanley in second place and Frank
Laughing from Local 440 in third.
The final event, rod
tying, put competitors against the clock to see who could tie the
most rebar. Bannister won first. Second place was a tie between
Stanley and Dave Rourke.
Johnny Skidders won first
place in the watermelon eating contest. Sue Rourke won the packing
event. Atomic Place was judged best in the chicken wing cookoff.