Sponsored by: IDEAL Industries
Being an electrician isn’t easy work, but it can be very rewarding to see such an important job done well. This is the reasoning behind the IDEAL National Championship: Highlighting and rewarding the best of the best in the trade. Open to professional electricians, students and apprentices, the competition allows both seasoned pros and eager learners a chance to show that they have what it takes to be the best in North America.
In addition to the honor of coming out on top, winners in their categories will take home some pretty big prizes. But what if you’re a contractor who wants to show off your team? Don’t worry, there are group categories available for competition as well. If this piques your interest, here’s everything you need to know about competing in the IDEAL National Championship and bringing home the top prize.
Championing the Trade
IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC. knows that electricians work hard, and believes that those who put in the work to become the best of the best should get the recognition they deserve. The IDEAL National Championship was established four years ago to showcase the skills and professionalism of today’s electricians and apprentices entering the trade.
It’s not enough to just be able to do the work; those who wish to come out on top need to be able to work quickly, accurately and safely. The best electricians are cool under pressure, so IDEAL created a competition where competitors work against the clock to score the fastest time with the best possible work. The competition isn’t easy, but when has anything worth doing ever been easy? Past winners will assure you that the stress of the competition is more than worth it, as there are few things better than facing a high-pressure competition and coming out as the top electrician in North America.
What Is the IDEAL National Championship?
The IDEAL National Championship is a competition designed for professional electricians, electrical contractors and those who are studying to enter the trade through either a trade school or an apprenticeship. It’s designed to provide some real challenges, even to seasoned pros, trying to sort out who’s really the best of the best from entrants across the nation. There are multiple competition categories to ensure that things are fair to all entrants; you won’t see apprentices competing directly against seasoned professionals or individuals competing against teams.
The National Championship begins with 7 months of qualifying round events, from March 4th through October 4th. It’s expected that more than 50,000 electricians will be competing in over 1,000 individual qualifying round events held across the United States and Canada, testing entrants on both their technical skills and their ability to solve problems in the heat of the moment. Only the best of those who enter the qualifying events will be invited to participate at Championship Weekend in November.
During the competition, every step of your work will be graded. That means it’s not just about your wiring and whether everything works in the end. Andrew Kuhns, IDEAL Electrical Marketing Operations Manager, says, “you have to be strong in all phases of the work, from bending pipe to tracing wires to win the competition. You need to know how to use your tools, how to do the physical labor involved in electrical work, and you have to be able to show off your problem-solving skills to come out on top.”
Who Can Compete?
There are four categories for entrants in the competition: Professional (Individual), Students/Apprentices (Individual), Contractor Challenge (Professional Teams) and School Challenge (Student/Apprentice Teams). This breakup is designed to put everyone on even ground, having the pros competing against pros and teams competing against teams. The individual categories have prizes for first, second and third place, while the team categories have prizes for first place only. In addition to the prizes, winners also enjoy the prestige of winning among the best of the best.
Pros, apprentices and teams from across the country compete in the IDEAL National Championship each year. Qualifying rounds take place in locations across the country, and the best qualifiers all get to come together in the fall to face off against the best Professionals and Student/Apprentices from each state or region. The top five Contractor Challenge and School Challenge teams from the U.S. and the top Contractor and School Challenge team from Canada will also be in the competition. There will also be 14 Wildcard slots filled by the three best scoring individuals from each U.S. region (North, South, East and West) who didn’t win their state bid, as well as the two top scorers from Canada. As if that wasn’t enough, the top 3 individual competitors from 2018 will return for a chance to defend their titles, including last year’s winner in the Professional (Individual) category, Greg Anliker, from Illinois.
Though the majority of the competitors are men, Andrew confirmed that there are more and more women competing in the National Championship as well. As he put it, “since we began the competition four years ago, we have seen more women compete, which is excellent. Last year, in the team competition, the winning school team was made of two males and one female competitor.” If the trends are any indication, there will be a number of women competing this year as well. If you’re a female electrician or know any that you think might want to compete, this is the perfect year to sign up and make your mark in the history of the IDEAL National Championship.
What’s on the Line at Championship Weekend?
With more than $600,000 combined value in cash and prizes, competition is fierce in the IDEAL National Championship, but the rewards are worth it.
For professional electricians participating as an individual:
• 1st Place – $75,000
• 2nd Place – $25,000
• 3rd Place – $10,000
For the Contractor Challenge:
• 1st Place – $40,000 (split among teammates)
• + NEW – $20,000 in IDEALcash to the Contractor
• + NEW – $50,000 in marketing support to the Contractor
For trade school students competing for individual honors:
• 1st Place – $30,000
• 2nd Place – $20,000
• 3rd Place – $10,000
For the School Challenge:
• 1st Place – $20,000 (split among teammates)
• + NEW – $10,000 IDEALcash for the Trade School
• + NEW – 5 first-year scholarships along with 5 complete tool kits for scholarship winners
How to Compete
In order to enter the IDEAL National Championship, you must first compete in one of the qualifying round events by October 4, 2019. Competitors will be scored on a number of factors to determine precisely who gets to go to Championship Weekend at Disney’s® Coronado Springs Resort.
To give you an idea of what you’ll face if you enter, here’s a brief description from Andrew: “During the qualifying round, competitors will need to demonstrate both their problem-solving and physical skills around cutting, stripping, crimping, terminating and more – using IDEAL tools through a challenge judged by time, craftsmanship, termination, connectivity, and safety. The Student/Apprentice and Professional with the best scores in each state will advance to Championship Weekend November 7 – 9. At Championship Weekend, there are multiple rounds of competitions designed to find the best electrician in North America.”
The qualifying events are spread out over a wide period of time to give as many competitors as possible a chance to enter. This means that the competition will be fierce, but it also means the winner really will be the best of the best. If you think you have what it takes to rank among the best in the IDEAL National Championship, head over to IDEALnationals.com to find out more and register for a qualifying round event in your area!
Sponsored by: IDEAL Industries