October 30, 2008 3:39 PM

IRWIN Industrial Tools® Hosts Top Tradesmen in Texas

Top-20 local event winners to compete on November 2nd.
Four $10,000 awards and spots in the Ultimate Tradesman Championship at stake.
HUNTERSVILLE, NC – (October 30, 2008) The saying is “Everything is bigger in Texas.”  IRWIN® Industrial Tools will prove that when the company hosts 20 of the fastest, accurate tradesmen from around the country at the race in Texas for the Ultimate Tradesman Challenge (UTC) Semi-Final competition. 

IRWIN® Industrial Tools, a Newell-Rubbermaid® company, has been searching for the Top Tradesman since March of this year with the second annual Ultimate Tradesman Challenge.  The competition is a timed event in which participants compete using an IRWIN® STRAIT-LINE chalk reel, IRWIN® tape measure and SPEEDBOR® Max wood boring bit to mark, measure and drill for a chance at a treasure trove of cash and prizes.  

Following the success of the 2007 competition in the U.S., IRWIN® extended the 2008 competition internationally and broadened the search to include Canada, Australia and New Zealand.   This year over 10,000 tradesmen have competed in 200 local events in 37 U.S. states, four Canadian provinces, Australia and New Zealand.

The competition has been narrowed to the top-20 North American competitors.  These competitors have won an all-expense-paid VIP race weekend to the track in Texas on November 2nd, for their shot at the Ultimate Tradesman Championship and $10,000.

Here are the names and hometowns of the semi-finalists:

Brent Keyes,
St. George, ON
Eric Howard,
Concord, CA
John Holbrook,
Semmes, AL
Phil Falcone,
Pottstown, PA
Bruce Halloway,
Mesa, AZ
Ernest Martin,
Waterloo, NY
Jonathan Smith,
Delaware, OH
Robert Blackburn,
Ft. Worth, TX
Christopher Peterson,
Richmond, VA
Fred Kappel,
Germantown, TN
Mark Martin,
Ostrander, OH
Roscoe Harris,
Stockbridge, GA
Daniel Zimmerman,
Charlottesville, VA
Jeffrey Poulson,
Cumming, GA
Matthew Kupferschmidt,
Gilbert, AZ
Steven Zepp,
Conover, NC
David Jackson,
Charlotte, NC
Jeffrey Webber,
Grand Forks, ND
Oscar Halloway,
Gilbert, AZ
Zach Snider,
Charlottesville, VA

On November 2nd at the track in Texas, four of these 20 participants will earn the right to proceed to the finals along with winnings of $10,000 each.   At the finals in Phoenix they will compete for a Roush Performance Supercharged Stage III Ford F-150 valued at over $60,000, a 600 square-foot IRWIN Ultimate Garage by Allied Steel Buildings and a year’s supply of Dickies work gear.   The North American winner will then compete against Nathan Vander Weilen, the finalist from the South Pacific leg of the competition, for a chance at $1.26 million.  Vander Weilen qualified after posting a time of 22.87 seconds on October 12th in Bathurst, Australia, winning him a trip to America to compete for the overall title.  Vander Weilen’s qualifying time is currently one of the best for any of the competitors.
“The IRWIN® Ultimate Tradesman Challenge is a celebration of professional tradesmen and their daily pursuit of precision and performance.  That same drive for quality that exceeds expectations is built into every IRWIN Industrial Tools product,” said Eric Rich, director of marketing for IRWIN Industrial Tools.
An additional enhancement to this year’s competition is the charitable contribution to the Jamie McMurray Foundation, a non-profit organization that raises funds for research, education and support of individuals and families afflicted with autism.   IRWIN® Industrial Tools has pledged a one dollar donation for every participant that competed throughout the 2008 competition.  A donation of $10,000 will be presented prior to the UTC championship in Phoenix, AZ.
“IRWIN’s tools and accessories are synonymous with speed and precision,” said McMurray.  “This year’s Ultimate Tradesman Challenge has allowed tradesmen to experience those qualities while at the same time helping apply speed and precision to the fight against autism.”
For more information on the Ultimate Tradesman Challenge and a full schedule of events in Texas visit
About IRWIN Industrial Tools
IRWIN Industrial Tools manufactures and distributes professional grade hand tools and power tool accessories worldwide for trade professionals who demand superior performance and durability on the job. IRWIN Industrial Tools' brand portfolio features user-preferred category leaders such as IRWIN®, VISE-GRIP® locking tools, MARATHON® circular saw blades, QUICK-GRIP® clamping tools, SPEEDBOR® flat bits, STRAIT-LINE® marking tools, Unibit® step drill bits and HANSON® taps and dies. IRWIN Industrial Tools is a Newell Rubbermaid company. For more information about IRWIN's line of hand tools and power tool accessories, call 1-800-GO IRWIN or visit

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