The 36th Annual International Lineman’s Rodeo & Expo was held on October 16-19, 2019 in Overland Park, KS at the Overland Park Convention Center and in Bonner Springs, KS at the National Agriculture Center & Hall of Fame. The event began with two days of free safety training and ended with a day of competition.
This was the first year Prairie Land Electric participated. Safety Coordinator Garrett Willour served as a judge and the contestants were Journeymen Tom Huber, Butch Hamel and Jarod Rohr and Apprentice Jameson Nielsen.
The Lineman’s Rodeo attracts the best lineman from around the world to compete in events based on traditional lineman tasks. The first Lineman’s Rodeo was held in September 1984, with twelve participating teams from Kansas and Missouri. The primary purposes of the event then as now was to help maintain a focus on safety and safe work practices, to provide a forum for the public to better understand and recognize the technical craft skills the linemen have, and to provide an opportunity for the professionals in the linework trade to receive recognition for their skills. One other purpose has always been for the participants to have fun while sharing work knowledge with others in their trade from different companies and different parts of the country.
“This was our first year attending the rodeo and its events, and it was impressive,” said Garett Willour, who attended the event as a judge. “We heard great speakers at the safety conference, saw innovative new products at the trade show, and the rodeo was ‘as billed’. The best part for me was seeing the linemen and linewomen competing while their families cheered them on!”
Many of the skills required in the competition are less frequently used currently but still critical line skills like climbing, working off a pole, and task work using hot sticks rather than gloves. These opportunities for linemen enhance their skills and keep them fresh make them more productive all while keeping safety during the competition at the forefront.