Group photo of contest participants and Japanese observers outside WFCA headquarters

The World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) hosted an installation contest which pitted the best carpet and resilient installers from the United States against their counterparts from Japan. The contest, which was held May 9 at WFCA headquarters in Anaheim, Calif., featured five installers from each country in both carpet and resilient categories. All 20 installers were awarded individual trophies for their participation in the all-day contest. On May 10, the installers spent the day exchanging installation techniques from both countries. The Japanese installers and other participants also went on a tour of a model home to see how homes are built in the United States.

While the installers competed fiercely during the competition, afterward there was a strong sense of camaraderie as the American and Japanese installers shared stories and tricks of the trade during a dinner and award ceremony.

"My experience was one of a lot of work to prepare for the competition, but it was all worth it, especially when both countries got together for dinner to relax and get acquainted with one another," said Jon Namba, director of technical services for the WFCA and supervisor of the contest. "Friendships were made along with a respect for each others skills," Namba said.

Installation contestants hard at work

"All in all, this event was great fun," said Hiroshi Tsujio, one of the organizers of the event for the Japanese contingent. "It is so much fun to know that people think alike, even though people sometimes do things differently."

On the carpet side, representing the United States were: Bobby Schurman; Roland Thompson; Leon Harrison; Ed Braile; Henry Garcia; and Jason Namba. For resilient, U.S. competitors were: Mike Suffia; Curtis Wood; Kelly Huddleston; and Mark Nemeth.

Representing Japan in the carpet division were: Kiyokazu Sakai; Koji Yamamoto; Masanari Iwata; Minoru Fukada; and Nobuyuki Nagata. For resilient, the Japanese competitors were: Fujio Takasaki; Toshiaki Tashiro; Yasumasa Kawamura; Tsutomu Yachiguchi; and Hideyuki Takahashi.

Sponsors of the competition were: World Floor Covering Association (WFCA); International Certified Floor Covering Installers Association (CFI); Japan Interior Finishing Installers Association; Armstrong;Floor Covering Installer; National Floor Trends; Beno J Gundlach; Orcon; Seam Master; Halex; Roberts; MAPEI; Capitol; Ardex/Henry; Bostik/Findley; Behr Tools; Taylor Tools; AAT; DAP/Durabond; Shaw; Mohawk; Bullet Tools; Wagner; Laser Square; Pro-Knee; Kool Glide; GW Carpet Tools; and Seamer Down Now.