The second annual Maritime Throwdown rocked the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales, La., October 13, with a total of 14 mariners from as far as West Virginia competing in a trio of line handling and throwing challenges.
Mariners first competed in the C-Hero life ring toss. Devall Towing’s Stryker Trahan, of Lake Charles, La., won that event with a distance of 54 feet, 9 inches. Second place went to Shannon Whittaker of Houston. The Cheryl K Marine representative tossed the life ring a total of 52 feet, 9 inches. San Jacinto College Maritime Technology and Training Center’s Alex Benavides, also of Houston, took third with a distance of 46 feet, 3 inches. Trahan, Wittaker and Benavides won $500, $300 and $200, respectively
The second event was the Anchored In Muscle Challenge, a winner-take-all line throwing competition where mariners try to catch a line on a timberhead from the greatest distance. Anthony Pettry, who traveled all the way from Powellton, W.Va., won the $1,000 prize with a 28-foot throw. Pettry works for Charleston, W.V.-based Amherst Madison.
After a short break between the distance throwing competitions, mariners faced off on the Maritime Throwdown course, made up of six mooring stations that simulated securing lines via a D-ring, vertical kevel, single timber, horizontal kevel, ship hook and extended piling.
Third place went to Whittaker with a time of 6:25. Pettry finished the course in the second fastest time, 4:39. Alexander Lawrence, another Houston-based competitor from Cheryl K Marine, had the fastest time of 4:09. Lawrence received $1,000 cash and $900-worth of credit to Gulf Coast Maritime Academy (GCMA). Pettry received $400 cash and 50 percent off any GCMA course. Whittaker won $200 cash and 25 percent off any GCMA course.
Kenny Brown, founder of Maritime Throwdown, was ecstatic with the second installment of the event, which drew significantly more people than the first event a year ago.
“We improved 100 percent,” Brown said. “The competitors doubled, and the crowd doubled as well.”
Brown added that the Maritime Throwdown course was totally redesigned this year with the intention of putting mariners’ line-handling skills to the test in real-world scenarios. The course was just 35 feet wide, with six stations.
“It was made to challenge the details of line handling, and I put little stops in there,” Brown said. “Everything was intentionally done to challenge their skills.”
One station, though, proved especially challenging for most of the competitors. At that one, mariners had to tackle a vertically-mounted kevel using a left handed throw. Brown said he knew that one would be a challenge, but he included it in the course for a reason.
“The majority of people don’t practice throwing left handed, but it’s definitely a skill you need,” he said. “Good line handlers know to throw left handed when they need to. That station was definitely kryptonite for some of the guys.”
Next up for the Maritime Throwdown is a southern regional qualifier to be held November 29 in conjunction with the International Workboat Show in New Orleans. Winners will receive entry into the 2019 main event. A northern regional qualifier will be held in conjunction with the Inland Marine Expo, set for May 20–22 in St. Louis, Mo.
Beyond that, Brown said he envisions Maritime Throwdown events being held throughout the country—wherever there’s a port or a waterway. His ultimate goal is to give away a truck to the winner of the annual main event. Through the excitement generated by events and prizes, Brown said Maritime Throwdown will continue to promote safety and efficiency among mariners who work on the waterways. Not only that, he said he hopes to see sponsor companies begin to use Maritime Throwdown events as recruiting tools to draw the next generation of mariners into the industry.
Slideshow with more photos from the Maritime Throwdown (all photos by Frank McCormack):