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U.S. Platinum Strainer Doubles Championship 

The USA’s first known farm/ranch handiwork competition was held in late August in Galax, Virginia, at the East Coast Fencing Rivalry (ECFR), which is a fencing event that was started three years ago by Derrick Cox. 

This year’s event saw twenty-five exhibitors, or ‘sponsors’ as they are termed, with attendees coming from a number of States. 

The fence line was designed to reflect the type of fencing US farm fencers undertake, taking into account local ground conditions (hard with rocks), with king posts (strainers) being pre-driven and the post holes predrilled to 24 inches (600 mms) width, backfilled and tampered. 

The Fence specifications were lines that were 100 feet in length (30 odd metres), Pre-driven king posts, driven to 50 inches in height. 8-foot long line posts were put in by hand, with post heights also 50 inches (1120 mm). 6 x strands of Bekaert brand 12.5 gauge high tensile wire with wire spacings measured from the top of the post down 10, 18, 26, 34 & 42 inches (look those up yourself) and wire tension 180 pounds (80 kgs). The brace assembly was a diagonal brace at each end with the top of the strut (stay) measuring 19 inches (48 mm) from the top of the king post down. In a homage to New Zealand fencing, oak wooden droppers with wire clips were used – to be installed evenly spaced between the posts. The king and line posts were sourced from Keystone Fence Supplies, and the oak droppers from Kencove Farm Supplies. 

There was a time limit of 3 hours. A time penalty was not applied on the competition as the intent was to focus on quality, especially for this first year. 

Three teams lined up, Alex Masser (Pennsylvania) and Jason Day (Virginia), Zachery Cordrey and David Jordan (both South Carolina), Luke Gibson (Indiana) and Sebron Jessrup (North Carolina).
Judges were Steve Sorrenson, who spent 21 years working for Bekaert, five years with Soldlock and four years with Kencove Farm Supplies; Bryce Taylor (Taylor Fencing), a one-time champion of the 2022 East Coast Fencing Rivalry machinery competition; Rory Halliburton (Halliburton Fencing), a fencing contractor from Tennessee; and Cody Cox, who worked alongside Derrick for a number of years. 

Impressive from the start was the lineup of pickups and the orderliness and range of the tools laid out behind the start line. You would think these guys were seasoned competitors, though Zachery and David admitted to picking up their post hole borer that morning.  The public was interested in what the competitors were doing and questioned the techniques, with a positive response. 

“It was a great experience, and we look forward to growing this competition and exhorting the merits of using these types of competitions to grow knowledge, and demonstrate the value of good workmanship. The aim of this competition is to bring out the best of American fencing” comments Derrick. 

The placings were: 

1st Alex Masser and Jason Day
2nd Luke Gibson and Sebron Jessup
3rd Zachery Cordrey and David Jordan 

The U.S. Platinum Strainer Doubles Championship is the United States qualifier event for an invitational line in the Fieldays® Silver Spades Doubles Competition, so the winners will be competing in New Zealand at the June 2024 Fieldays®. 

The next day, five teams competed in the East Coast Fencing Rivalry machinery fencing competition, which has been held over the past three years. Added to the previous day’s judging panel was Alex Masser. 

With a time-limit of 3 ½ hours, competitors had to start with sourcing their materials from stockpiles located at the bottom of the hill, so there was machinery movement in all directions while materials were laid and before the posting started. The fence line being erected was 135 feet (41 metres) with netting, plus a top barb wire, two end assemblies of the competitor’s own choice (the end assemblies only judged on whether they were installed correctly), and an 8-foot section of rail fencing at one end. 

The placings were 

1st Luke Gibson (Indiana) and Sebron Jessup (North Carolina)
2nd Roger Rhodes and Rodney Rhodes (Indiana)
3rd Henry Shaull (Wisconsin) and Associate 

Article written by Debbie White 

Tony and Debbie White travelled to the ECFR where Tony demonstrated rail work. 

Published in Training & Events in WIRED Issue 71 / December 2023 by Fencing Contractors NZ