Kissimmee’s “Electric Cowboys” to Compete in Statewide Rodeo

KISSIMMEE, Fla., April 20, 2017 – Thirteen linemen from Kissimmee Utility Authority will compete against linemen from other utilities throughout the state in Saturday’s 17th annual Florida Lineman Competition in Lakeland, sponsored by the Florida Municipal Electric Association.

The purpose of the day-long rodeo is to demonstrate the skill, safety and teamwork of electric linemen in a series of timed events based on traditional lineman tasks. This year’s competition will feature 26 journeyman teams and 75 apprentices.

“This annual rodeo enables linemen to test their knowledge and skills in a fun, competitive environment,” said Brian Horton, KUA’s vice president of engineering and operations. “The competition creates safety awareness, builds teamwork and tests the readiness of our crews as we prepare for this year’s storm 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. An apprentice lineworker competes as an individual and has four or fewer years of experience in an apprentice program. Both levels of competition will participate in five timed events.

Representing KUA will be:

Journeyman Team – Austin Franey, Shane Paras and Billy White.

Lars Akkerman, Nick Aviles, Brian Cutcher, Nathan Gault, Austin Gunther, Daniel Kelly, Brendan Laflamme, Kevon McKinsey, Tony Nasco and Billy Sutphin will compete in the apprentice competition.

George Blair, Alberto Mercado, Dave Wolfe and Jason Wright will serve as event judges. Aaron Haderle will serve as the journeyman master judge. Bruce Thompson will serve in a support role.

The competition will be held at the Tigertown Complex, 2301 Lakeland Hills Blvd. in Lakeland. The event begins with opening ceremonies at 8 a.m. The event is free and open to the public.

About FMEA
The Florida Municipal Electric Association represents the unified interests of 34 public power communities across the state that collectively serve three million Floridians.

Founded in 1901, KUA ( is Florida’s sixth largest community-owned utility powering 70,000 customers in Osceola County, Fla.