Lineman technicians from Duke Energy will get to show off their skills at the company’s Rodeo this weekend in Winter Garden.
They held two practice sessions on Wednesday, including one on a training field at the utility company’s St. Petersburg Operations Center.
Contenders in Saturday’s Duke Energy Florida Lineman’s Rodeo will be judged on agility, technique, speed, and safety procedures. Duke Energy Senior Communications Consultant Ana Gibbs stressed safety is a main priority.
“During the competition, it’s not just a matter of how fast they can accomplish an event,” she explained. “The judges actually look for them to compete in a safe manner. They will have points deducted if they don’t complete an event safely.”
The competition allows the linemen to revisit tried and true techniques, such as climbing wooden utility poles - an ability largely replaced by bucket truck lift technology.
In particularly hazardous storm situations, basic skills are the only option in safely performing hurt-man rescues or repairing power lines.
Lineman Technician Apprentice Adriant Harrison embrace the opportunity to not just show off his skills, but also build comradery.
“It helps as far as getting used to climbing poles and working alongside other people,” he said.
Winners of the statewide competition will go on to the International Lineman’s Rodeo in Bonner Springs, Kansas in the fall.