I was invited to this year’s IDEAL National Championship for electricians in Orlando, Florida and was blown away at the level of pomp-and-circumstance surrounding this event. I’d heard about this event in the past but had never put much effort into finding out more about it. Here’s some of the footage for the event.
I got to Orlando and checked into the Coronado Springs Resort where this year’s championship was held. First off, I’d never been to Disney so this was a pretty awesome trip in and of itself.
I got to go into the event before anyone else so I was able to see all the boards they were creating, and all of the different tools, materials, and setups that these electricians would be working with. It wasn’t even a thought in my mind that none of these sparks would be using their own tools. IDEAL had carts set up with tools, a clock, and bunch of materials for each event that was happening. So each electrician had to start fresh with tools they’re not used to, materials they may have never come across, and a cart that all of their stuff had to be on, rather than a tool belt or bag that they were used to. Cool twist I think.
The event played out over 3 days, with several rounds of pre-qualifiers, qualifiers, semi-finals, and finals – each with its own set of challenges that ultimately aided in whittling down more and more people with each event. All of the events were timed, and there were tons of volunteer judges there to go over each person’s craftsmanship, code-adherence, and overall quality…through a timed event.
It was fun as hell to watch all these apprentices, journeymen, and masters run around like a chicken with their heads cut off. A lot of them placed a little too much emphasis on the time than they should have, because time was only one part of the equation. Quality, safety, and doing things right/to code played a large part in who actually won – and the time was only a bonus if you finished early.
If you’re interested in watching the full event it airs this weekend on Decemeber 15th on ESPN2. Go out and support your local sparks by watching the event. For more info click here: IDEAL NATIONALS
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**Disclaimer – These videos are for training purposes alone, all work done on electrical systems should be done by a licensed and insured electrical contractor. If you are not an electrician, do not attempt any of the work you are seeing in these videos.**