It’s a bittersweet moment to look back on an event like the 36th Annual International Lineman’s Rodeo & Expo and to realize that for all the preparation and hard work, the event is done. The best linemen in the world brought their best to compete, and, for the rest of us, we watched and admired their skill, speed, and strength.
New to CHANCE® this year, this was my first Rodeo (pun intended). I work on a team that is passionate about linemen and their safety. I have been to many trade shows and expos in my career, but I had never seen an event with so much family involvement, so much legacy, and so many solid relationships. The bond between linemen really is aptly captured in the word “brotherhood.”
At the Expo, linemen and their families filtered in and out constantly. We handed out shirts to the kids and rope to the apprentices. A piece of CHANCE history, a prototype cutter tool developed by NASA using AB Chance parts that astronauts used to repair the Skylab space station in the 1970s, was on display, serving as a reminder of our love for challenges and solving problems. I enjoyed watching guys use the hotsticks in our booth, showing their families how to install an arrester or close a cutout.
But perhaps most heartwarming of all was to see the guys who came to our booth just to say “hi” to one of our demonstrators. A hug or a handshake and broad smiles all around, these guys were genuinely glad to see one another. More than once Andy Tuten turned to me and said proudly, “I hired him!” It may have been twenty years ago, but once you’ve worked together as linemen, you can now call each other friends.
Attending the Rodeo gives me a deep respect for linemen – and women (yes, I met a few!). Early on a drizzly Saturday morning, we watched them climb swiftly and perform difficult tasks on top of a 40-foot pole that swayed in the crisp morning breeze.
I was proud to see our bright orange hotsticks in action, deftly handled by the skilled teams who came to compete. The Journeyman Mystery Event #1 featured our Equipotential Grounding Set consisting of four ground sets and one cluster bar, and was won by team 504 from Sturgeon Electric in California - Daniel Jameson, Enoc Verdin, and Matt Richardson – with a perfect 100 score and a time of 10:40:31, beating the closest competitors by about 32 seconds.
Congratulations to all who represented their utilities at this event and thank you for giving me a peek into the world of a lineman.