Seabees Host Equipment Rodeo

Gulfport Seabees hosted the fifth annual Equipment Rodeo Saturday.

The rodeo is a competition for junior equipment operators and mechanics, who use the heavy equipment in specific skill exercises.

The Seabees are scored by how much time they take to complete each objective, performance and safety, along with a personal interview, and a written and physical test.

Jonathan Monroe is a Seabee reservist from Purvis. In the first part of the rodeo, he and his team worked to load a bulldozer unto a trailer.

"It helps us understand better what our jobs are. If we go out, get called up, what our jobs would be out in the field, what we would be responsible for," Monroe said.

Next, the team needs to park the trailer into a small space outlined by cones, hitting a cones subtracts points from the overall score, and finally the bulldozer needs to be unloaded.

"Most of these guys have been in the navy less than two years. The whole purpose of the Rodeo is to improve their skills as equipment operators." Readiness Supervisor, Chief James May said.

While other services get to fly jets or maneuver tanks the Seabees find their job driving tractors and bull dozers just as glamorous.

"I think it's better, you get to tear up more with this," Monroe said.

"Some of the specific equipment is a dozer, and we're using a grater, a dump truck, a front end loader," May said.

Although the exercises are timed, the real purpose of the rodeo is to teach proper procedures, but it's always fun to go home a winner.

"It's friendly but still competitive, you want to hold that trophy saying we're a little bit better than you," construction mechanic, Stephanie Archuleta said.

"This seems like it's pretty competitive, but we work as a team, but we're all Seabees, we work together," Monroe said.

"We are learning ourselves, as we hold this evolution, as with every undertaking, there are things we could have done better, and next year we plan to pass that information on to the next command who will host it," May said.

There will be an award ceremony Sunday morning.