In 1785 Robert Burns, the poet, wrote, “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry…” or something like that. Of course, to us today, it means that no matter how carefully an event or project is planned, something may still go wrong with it.

October 11 – 13, 2018, Texas811 had planned to host The International Locate Rodeo for competitors who came from all parts of the country as well as Canada. This annual event is the showcase event for locating competition.

The competition was scheduled for Saturday the 13th and was to be preceded by a relaxing Friday to be filled with getting acquainted with rules and relaxation in advance of a busy and somewhat stressful yet friendly competition of some of the best underground locating technicians.

Following Saturday’s competition, scores would be tallied and winners and prizes would be announced at a banquet suited for royalty.

Apparently, the six-month weather forecast in Texas is not as reliable as it is in other regions of the country. Friday morning brought with it heavy rain showers with a promise of heavier rain and storms pushing through Saturday, the intended day of competition.

Someone once said the most successful people in the world are folks with the best “Plan B.” The large number of volunteers saw a small break in the rain clouds around Friday noon. “Let’s start the competition now because tomorrow will only get worse,” it was announced.

Amazingly competitors, judges and volunteers began to move in the direction of the Texas Motor Speedway. That would have made A.J. Foyt proud! Someone was overheard to say, “It’s too wet out here, we should have just taken our chances tomorrow.”

The late start made for a late finish with some of the competitors completing the Locate from Hell in the dark or at best relying on headlights from the surrounding vehicles at the site.

Thomas Gongora, PG&E won first place in the Locate From Hell event.

Hats off to all who made the best of an unplanned Friday afternoon. Wet, muddy and worn out, folks made it back to the hotel in the dark. Waking up Saturday morning and watching the rain come down in buckets, I overheard Captain Obvious state, “Dang, I’m glad we got that over with yesterday. We would drown out there today.”

Hats off to Texas811, all the volunteers and competitors for figuring out a way to turn an impossible situation into a memorable event.

Hey, wait a minute…isn’t that the way this damage prevention thing is supposed to work? Everybody working together for a successful outcome?

You guys did that on purpose, didn’t you?