KISSIMMEE, Fla., March 25, 2019 – Seven linemen from Kissimmee Utility Authority will travel to Colorado Springs, Colorado this week to compete in Saturday’s 2019 Public Power Lineworkers Rodeo.
Hosted by the American Public Power Association, the annual event attracts top linemen from utilities across the United States to demonstrate their skills and knowledge in the craft of linework.
This year’s rodeo will feature 80 teams and 131 apprentices.
The event begins with a series of training and safety courses on Friday, followed by Saturday’s competition at Garden of the Gods Park.
“This annual rodeo enables linemen to attend training courses, practice essential skills in a safe environment and compete for professional recognition,” said Jim Welsh, KUA’s president and general manager. “It also helps ensure the readiness of our crews to respond to outages as we enter Florida’s storm and hurricane season.”
There are two levels of competition within the rodeo: journeyman teams and apprentices. The journeyman teams consist of three members – two climbers and a ground worker. A qualified journeyman has more than four years of experience within the electric utility trade. An apprentice lineworker competes as an individual and has four or fewer years of experience.
The journeyman team competition consists of five timed events; the apprentice competition includes four timed events and a written test.
KUA’s journeyman team is made up of Austin Franey, Shane Paras and Billy White, with Robert Diaz serving as alternate and support staff. Austin Gunther, Chris Kitting and Brendan Laflamme will compete in the apprentice competition. In addition, David Wolfe will serve as an event judge and Aaron Haderle will serve as the rodeo’s journeyman master judge.
KUA linemen placed fourth statewide in this month’s Florida Lineman Competition in Gainesville.
The American Public Power Association (http://publicpower.org) is the national service organization representing the nation’s more than 2,000 not-for-profit, community-owned electric utilities. Collectively, these utilities serve more than 49 million Americans and employ 93,000 people.
Founded in 1901, KUA is Florida’s sixth largest community-owned utility powering 76,000 customers in Osceola County, Fla. For more information, visit https://kua.com.