Lineworker's Rodeo Coming to IMS
|click on photo to expand
|Crews have set dozens of poles in the "north 40" parking lot
for next week's rodeo.
Photo by Jay Thompson
(posted Apr 11)
The April 17-19 American Public Power Association's Lineworker's Rodeo is a competitive teaching, learning and safety event that will take place
on the grounds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Mike Highland of the APPA said he organized the traveling event in 2001
to showcase the line worker's safety records and trade. The association
represents 2,000 municipally owned electric companies ranging from the
size of Los Angeles to Peru, Indiana.
Indiana is unique that it does not have a large municipal owned power company.
Indiana has 72 small municipally owned electric companies. Approximately
62 teams and 70 apprentices will come from across the nation for the timed
event that includes a simulated safety rescue from the lines, as well as
a timed multiple choice test for the apprentices to make sure they are
reading the APPA manuals.
The event will require the use of 80 judges to monitor the different teams
ascending the various 110 poles on site. Improper safety can result in
points deductions. The loss of points is referred to as "gigging."
Many of the teams video the competition for training use. Whether a team
represents a large or small municipality, the lineworkers all learn from
The industry vendors also gather to showcase new insulated tools and protective
clothing. Back in the 1940s and 1950s, protective clothing to shield workers
from arc flashes was nonexistent.
Highland touted the strong camaraderie that has developed as a result of
the APPA rodeo. He said he can send out email across the country looking
for linemen to restore electricity after a major disaster and within minutes,
he receives replies stating they are ready to go.
Highland explained there is always a need for linemen and the association
tries to outreach to high school students about the trade. "This is
a career," he said. It is a good job for those who are interested
in climbing, like harsh weather conditions, as well as knowing they are
performing a good public service. Northwest Lineman College offers a four month basic training course.