We have ultimate fighters and ultimate frisbee, so it is entirely suitable that there are Ultimate Ironworker competitions too, showcased during Tuesday’s new episode of Mohawk Ironworkers.
Mike Swamp has been organizing the Ultimate Ironworker competition in Akwesasne for 13 years; the annual competition gives ironworkers the opportunity to come together and turn work into games. Competitors come from across the eastern U.S. and Canada to showcase their skills in such events as knot tying, rivet tossing and column climbing.
Among the competitors are some familiar faces, including Bill “Moon Over Manhattan” Sears from Akwesasne, but this is to be expected as this is a tightly knit community of workers. This day of competition is a celebration of skills and camaraderie, brought to life via clips from the 2015 competition, exhibiting their brotherhood. Before the games begin these hard working men and women take time to recognize those lost in the last year. One worker who was especially noticed was Angus Adams, a man whose legacy in ironworking continues in his grandson Brandon Benedict.
Tuesday’s episode, although informative, felt weak. Yes, we gained insight into the brotherhood of these brave skywalkers, and how knowledge is passed from one generation to the next. I did enjoy the segments explained by elder and retired Mohawk ironworker Paul Deer from Kahnewa:ke, listening to him explain how each of the activities related to the job.
Mohawk Ironworkers airs Tuesdays at 7 p.m. ET on APTN.