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The 2020 TOMCAT U Annual Truss And Rigging Training Course, Thousand Oaks, California
For the first time in its illustrious history, TOMCAT U’s Annual Truss and Rigging Training Course took place in the wonderful venue of Thousand Oaks, California.

Traditionally held in TOMCAT’s hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee, the west coast venue marked the inaugural conference of one of the industry’s most respected Rigging Training Courses.

The March 2020, five-day programme was held in Area Four Industries Direct’s on-site training room, sales office and warehouse, and focused not only on presentations given by professional riggers detailing best practices, but also included the unveiling of many new products designed to increase efficiency and safety at work. The maximum of thirty Entertainment Technicians Certification Programme (ETCP) renewal credits were also awarded to participants after completion of the course.

Designed as a focused, small group, informal training course, participants were greeted on Day One by Adrian Forbes-Black (Vice President of TOMCAT USA) and Will Todd (COO of TOMCAT USA), who focused on Aluminium Structures in the Entertainment Industry. With nearly 50 years’ experience of the entertainment technology industry between them, they offered a comprehensive account of the history of aluminium truss and structure use in the entertainment industry, before concentrating on the fundamentals of aluminium truss design and usage.

Other topics covered included the thorny area of correctly reading manufacturer’s supplied load tables, performing and documenting truss inspection, and introducing relevant American National Standards Industry (ANSI) entertainment technology standards relating to truss design, manufacture, and use.
But it was not all work. Entertainment was provided by the inaugural TOMCAT Karting Grand Prix & Dinner held at the MB2 Racetrack. Prizes were awarded to the fastest and most daring racer.

Day Two was taught by Jeff Reder, Principal and Partner of Cincinnati-based Clark-Reder Engineering, a full-service consulting engineering firm specialising in the entertainment industry. With licenses to practice in fifty US states as well as Puerto Rica, Guam, and Canada, Jeff bought his considerable expertise and experience to bear on such subjects as the structural engineering process behind standard truss products up to and including the most complex and huge show specific outdoor systems.

He concluded by providing guidance on the crucial area of how to read structural engineering reports, and helping participants to develop and perfect important operational documentation such as operating manuals, high wind speed action plans, and consideration of seismic irregularities.

Days Three to Five were the opportunity for participants to share in the accumulated wisdom of one of the most respected trainers in the Entertainment Rigging industry. Bill Sapsis, President of Sapsis Rigging, Inc., began his career in 1972. His immense experience covers ETCP Recognised Training and ETCP Certified Rigging (Arena and Theatre.) He is currently Chair of ESTA Technical Standards Program’ Rigging Working Group.

Over the course of three days, Bill demonstrated how to correctly utilise a TOMCAT ground support system, instructed in the fundamentals of entertainment rigging principles, and also included fall protection systems and components. Bill’s encyclopaedic knowledge, based on performing over two hundred training classes on three continents, proved fascinating to those lucky enough to attend.

An informal dinner, with prize-winning activities, rounded off a very successful and information-packed block of instruction.

It is widely expected that TOMCAT U’s Annual Truss and Rigging Training Course will continue to be held interchangeably in forthcoming years on both the west and east coasts of the US.

For over three decades, TOMCAT has written new chapters in the story of American trussing and staging. Technical and safety expertise allied to superior built-to-last solutions make TOMCAT a top American brand.