Kissimmee, Fla., March 5, 8:30 am – Kissimmee Utility Authority (KUA) crews brought home five trophies and a $500 check from the second annual Florida Lineman’s Rodeo on March 2. Twenty-eight teams from more than a dozen of Florida’s electric utilities gathered in Windermere to exhibit their craft and showcase their skills.
While “rodeo” implies competition based on speed and skill, safe work is the number one priority, says KUA manager of corporate communications Chris Gent. “These linemen take their jobs very seriously,” said Gent. “It may look easy, but there’s nothing easy about climbing a 40-foot utility pole. While the men want to do well, they also want to compete in a safe environment. After all, in a work situation, it’s their lives that are on the line and there’s no room for error.”
KUA’s three crews participated in a series of 5 events; 2 events were known in advance while the remaining three events were mystery events that were revealed at the start of the competition. Two of the most popular events were the hurt-man rescue and the pole climb. In the first, a 180-pound mannequin, simulating an injured lineman, was “rescued” from the top of a 40-foot pole. “This is one situation a lineman hopes he never encounters on the job,” Gent said, “but he must know how to perform a rescue safely and accurately.”
The pole climb event attracted crowds of onlookers who watched the linemen climb up and then down a pole – without breaking the raw egg they were carrying in their mouths. “You can get egg on your face, literally, in this event,” Gent said.
KUA’s three teams placed 8th, 15th and 18th in the state and earned three event trophies, including second place for the pole climb. The teams included: John Chapin, Mike Fulmore, Gary Guinan, Aaron Haderle, Ronnie Hardee, Virgil Minshew, Luis Santiago, Bruce Thompson, and Joe Watson. Jamie Boswell, Scott Grieves and Logan Murphy represented KUA in the apprentice competition.
Boswell earned the title of the state’s top apprentice lineman and earned two trophies and a $500 check to help cover his travel expenses to Kansas in September where he will represent KUA in the 19th Annual International Lineman’s Rodeo.
KUA is Florida’s 6th largest community-owned utility serving 58,000 electric, water and Internet customers in four Central Florida counties. KUA celebrated its 100th year of serving the community in 2001.
Contact: Chris Gent, Manager of Corporate Communications
(407) 933-7777 ext. 1116