In a savvy move that would pay off more than he could have predicted, Craig Childress, a tradesman from Boston University, made the strategic decision to check extra luggage before jetting off to Tampa for the Elite Trades Championship Series (ETCS) Plumbing National Championship sponsored by SharkBite Plumbing Solutions —a rigorous showdown between the crème de la crème of American tradespeople, including plumbers, competing for the first time for their share of cash and prizes.
Childress’s foresight was spot on. Not only did he clinch the title in the Plumbing National Championship, but he also emerged as the groundbreaking crossover victor in the HVAC National Championship’s pro division—a first in the event’s history.
The spoils of his double triumph? A hefty $50,000 in prize money, complemented by a pair of weighty trophies. In the aftermath of his double win, with his wife Rachel by his side, an elated Childress reflected on the magnitude of his achievements: “Professionally, this is the most absurdly wonderful thing that’s ever happened to me,” he remarked, still processing the whirlwind of success. “It’s been an unbelievable journey. I’m incredibly grateful.”
The ETCS is more than just a trades competition. It’s a showcase of finesse, knowledge and dedication among the nation’s elite apprentices and seasoned pros, all vying for a slice of the $300,000 prize pool, bolstered by various sponsor contributions, including SharkBite’s support of the trade.
The ETCS Plumbing Championship is a mission to elevate the profile of plumbing. By framing pipework as a competitive sport, the championship aims to flush away old stereotypes and draw a new generation into the fold. It’s a call to action for young craftsmen and craftswomen: plumbing is not just a job—it’s a vocation that pays well but demands smarts, skill and a steady hand. In showcasing the sheer expertise these challenges demand, the championship underscores the critical role plumbers play in keeping our modern world running. The city of Tampa Bay became the stage where these virtues were on full display.
Plumbing may not spark viral hashtags or trend on TikTok, but the Plumbing National Championship is changing the conversation around this foundational trade. Think of it as the Olympics of U-bends and pipe wrenches: a high-stakes arena where plumbing pros from across the nation lock horns, armed with nothing but their tools and talent. Each plumber dives into a gauntlet of real-world challenges, turning the spotlight on the unsung skills that keep our faucets flowing and toilets flushing.
The competitive but fun event also celebrated other top-tier talents, with David Shanor and Joe Jaspers nabbing the second and third spots respectively in plumbing, and Dagner Espinoza and Lee Morris Jr. rounding out the HVAC podium.
However, for Childress, his moment of victory was as personal as it was professional. After both championship wins, he shared the moment with his 12-year-old daughter via video chat. Her pride in her dad was the cherry on top of an already sweet victory, moving Childress to the brink of tears.
The gripping tale of the ETCS SharkBite Plumbing National Championship will hit the airwaves soon. According to the Plumbing Nationals Instagram feed, CBS Sports Network will broadcast the 2023 Plumbing National Championship on December 29, 2023, at 8:00 PM ET, allowing viewers nationwide to witness the drama of Childress’s remarkable pipe dream come true. The HVAC National Championship will be televised Friday, December 15 at 8 PM ET, also on CBS Sports Network.