Wacker Neuson brought back its Trowel Challenge to the 2018 World of Concrete in Las Vegas where more than 100 trowel operators from around the world competed on the reconfigured course that required operators to show off their precision operating skills as well as speed as they navigated tight turns through the 1,750-square-foot course.
A large crowd gathered for the final competition on Thursday, Jan. 26, as the top 10 fastest finishers from the earlier qualifying rounds made their final runs. The final run time was then added to the qualifying time to determine the winner of the Grand Prise – a customized Wacker Neuson CRT48-37V ride-on trowel powered by a Vanguard “Big Block” V-twin engine. The competition was so close that tenths of a second separated the top three finishers and only 6.6 seconds separated first and tenth place.
First place winner Derek Gromacki of PJ Dick, Pittsburgh, has been finishing concrete for 21 year. This is his first time participating in the Trowel Challenge. Second place finisher Josh Smith of H&M Precision Concrete, Greenville, Ohio, took second place in the last challenge in 2016 as well as this year. H&M was well represented in the challenge, with Jeremy Fox finishing in ninth place.
Third-place winner was Tai Johnson of V&G Concrete Construction, Melbourne, Australia, who traveled the farthest to participate in the challenge. Another V&G employee, John Vigliaroni took sixth place.
Each of the top three took home a crystal trophy and all top 10 finishers received a special Trowel Challenge t-shirt plus free tuition to the Wacker Neuson Technical Academy Industrial/Commercial Concrete Floor course March 6-7 at Wacker-Neuson’s Menomonee Falls, Wis., training center.