digging relay split image

Nucor Corporation, North America's largest steel producer, turned the official groundbreaking of its newest steelmaking facility into a record-breaking event.

Nucor Steel West Virginia LLC (USA) recruited an incredible 545 participants to become the most people in a digging relay as they celebrated the official groundbreaking of the new mill on 20 October.

Their Guinness World Records title marked the beginning of the largest single investment in the history of the state and will eventually see the creation of one of the most advanced steel mills in the world.

digging relay broke ground on the nucor mill

There, they’ll make some of the cleanest and most sustainable steel products available anywhere.

The new mill will create approximately 2,000 construction jobs while it’s being built and then employ more than 800 full-time team members once it’s fully operational.

The Nucor team said they wanted to mark the occasion in a way that matched the magnitude of what they were accomplishing together with the community of Apple Grove, West Virginia, and earning a Guinness World Records title was the perfect icing on the cake.

digging relay certificate presentation

This was a brand-new record title. The minimum was set at 250 people, but with 545 taking part, they certainly upped the challenge for anyone else hoping to clinch the title in the future.

The facility sits on a 1,700-acre site and the record-breaking event was attended by West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, US Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito, and State Senate President Craig Blair, alongside Nucor President and CEO Leon Topalian and many other special guests.

The digging relay was made up of more than 100 Nucor team members, federal, state and local elected officials, 200 local high school seniors and band members, and friends, family, neighbours and community members who have supported and helped make Nucor Steel West Virginia a reality.

digging relay participants celebrate

Unfortunately, it began raining heavily about halfway through the relay, but not a single person downed tools, with everyone braving the cold and wet day to claim the record together.

The success of the event was put down to perfect planning, with the team on the ground spending hours creating a safe and accessible dig line, complete with a gravel walkway that came in handy when the weather got rough.

Nucor didn’t make their record attempt public knowledge before the event but instead surprised everyone with the exciting news.

digging relay participants counted by adjudicator

Marcus Brown, Nucor West Virginia’s Hot Mill Electrical Supervisor, was the last person on the dig line.  

He said: “I’ve been with Nucor for 10 years. In February, my wife Victoria and I packed up our lives and three children and moved to West Virginia from our Hertford County mill. 

“I, like the rest of the West Virginia team, was extremely excited to participate in the groundbreaking ceremony. Being a part of building Nucor Steel West Virginia feels like being a part of something historic for Mason County, WV, and the surrounding areas, so it’s only fitting that we made a little history during groundbreaking.

digging relay participants lined up

“It’s something I’ll always be able to look back on fondly. It was great to be able to share that accomplishment with the NSWV team! My wife being beside me made the day even more special. I was shovel number 545, and she was shovel number 544.”

John Farris, Vice President and General Manager of Nucor Steel West Virginia, added: “Achieving a Guinness World Records title on the day of Nucor Steel West Virginia's groundbreaking was an exciting addition to our celebration. 

“Our team proudly stood side by side, shovels in hand, with government officials, our families, friends, neighbours, and aspiring high school students, demonstrating the incredible feats we can accomplish when we work together. This community is undeniably exceptional, and now, we hold the distinguished title of Officially Amazing!”

Does your brand have what it takes to become Officially Amazing™? Visit our Business Solutions page to find out how we can help or contact us.

Want more? Follow us on Google News and across our social media channels to stay up-to-date with all things Guinness World Records! You can find us on Facebook, Twitter/X, Instagram, ThreadsTikTok, LinkedIn, and Snapchat Discover.

Don't forget to check out our videos on YouTube and become part of our group chat by following the Guinness World Records WhatsApp channel.

Still not had enough? Click here to buy our latest book, filled to the brim with stories about our amazing record breakers.