Hundreds of linemen from utility companies across the United States, Canada, and the U.K., competed October 15th at the International Lineman’s Rodeo in Bonner Springs, Kan. The 33rd annual competition attracts the very best linemen, who had competed at the local level to advance to this championship. DICA is proud to have participated as the Official Outrigger Pad Sponsor , and congratulates all of the winners and participants of this great event.
This year, more than 200 three-person journeyman teams and more than 250 individual apprentices competed. Many more qualified, but were unable to attend as storm crews were responding to Hurricane Matthew, which reached Category 3 and 160 mph winds. The hurricane hammered the Southeastern United States just a week before the Rodeo, causing more than 2 million outages in five states, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Returning power in emergency situations is just one of the many scenarios utility workers face in the real world. Applying those same safe practices and skills at the International Lineman’s Rodeo allows linemen a chance at bragging rights. One of those events is the Hurtman Rescue, in which speed is of the essence. The apprentice version requires the linemen to gear up and climb a 40 ft. pole to rescue a dummy, safely lowering the dummy to the ground. The journeyman version is a bit more complicated, as the team has an emergency script to follow in order to properly, and quickly, rescue the dummy.
The first place Journeyman team in the Hurtman Rescue included Jimmy Staton, Dustin White, and Terry Duvall from Oklahoma Gas & Electric, while the first place apprentice was Russell Smith of Avista Utilities, which serves the northwest United States. Congratulations from DICA.
As linemen cycled through the Hurtman Rescue, Terex and Altec bucket trucks setup on SafetyTech outrigger pads, were used to lift the dummies back in place for the next competitor. The process was time-consuming and bucket trucks were positioned so they could reach several pole stations. Bucket truck operators and linemen worked together to reset the dummy after each training rescue.
Families, Friends, Fans
More than just utility workers attend the International Lineman’s Rodeo. It’s a family event, supported by spouses, children, parents, co-workers, and friends.
One fleet manager from a small municipality in Oklahoma attended so he could cheer on his brother. But while at the event, he was also checking out the vendors. On a much smaller scale, municipalities use much of the same equipment as utilities—bucket trucks, digger derricks, and outrigger pads. He stopped by the DICA booth to share that his city’s fleet has been using SafetyTech outrigger pads for about six years. He reported: “They’re versatile, and they work.”
See more photos and videos from the event published by T&D World.