John Moore of Ohio’s A&J Services Wins the NOWRA Roe-D-Hoe Competition

John Moore of Ohio’s A&J Services Wins the NOWRA Roe-D-Hoe Competition

First-place winner John Moore is shown working on a Caterpillar mini-excavator at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The national Roe-D-Hoe precision backhoe skills competition was held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis during the 2019 Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport (WWETT) Show and attracted 110 operators hoping to take home top cash prizes. The annual event is organized by the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association, and this year’s contest was sponsored by SALCOR.

The national competition dates back to 2008 at NOWRA’s Installer Academy event in Reno, Nevada, and was started after state affiliates were holding local competitions at their conferences, according to Jessi Wood, the chair of the Roe-D-Hoe committee. The competition has also been held off and on at the WWETT Show and the Onsite Wastewater Mega-Conference over the years.

The first-place winner receives $1,000, the second-place winner receives $300 and the third-place winner receives $100.

“In the past, we have also given custom Roe-D-Hoe buckles for our winners but haven’t in the last five years or so,” says Wood, who has chaired the Roe-D-Hoe committee since 2010. “We will be adding the buckles back to the list of prizes for our first-, second- and third-place winners in 2020.”

Participants pay a $5 fee to enter the contest, and winners of state affiliate competitions automatically qualify for the final round at nationals. The event is open to all experienced backhoe operators who are at least 16 years old. Cat mini-excavators were used in the competition in Indianapolis. Many of the competitors made multiple attempts for the fastest times completing a variety of skills tests, Wood says.

The top six finishers in Indy were:

  • John Moore, A&J Services, Zanesville, Ohio
  • Paul Willis, White Wolf Trucking and Excavating, Washington, Massachusetts
  • Albert Breech, Breech’s Septic & Excavating, Lucasville, Ohio
  • Jason Dop, Septics & More, Monroe, Iowa
  • Michael Dautel, Dautel Excavating, Wartburg, Tennessee
  • Dustin Thornton, A-1 Sanitation, Kalispell, Montana.


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