Local “Electric Cowboys” to Compete at National Rodeo

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KISSIMMEE, Fla., March 5, 8:30 am — The best linemen from Kissimmee Utility Authority (KUA) have joined linemen from other municipal utilities around the nation to compete in their very own version of the rodeo. And in a profession where a mistake can mean disaster or death, their combination of skill, safety and speed will prove crucial in the annual competition.

The American Public Power Association’s fourth annual Lineworkers’ Rodeo begins today and continues through Saturday in San Antonio, Texas. The intention of the rodeo is to recognize the profession of line work as well as demonstrate the safety, skill and education of electric linemen.

There are two levels of competition within the rodeo – journeyman and apprentice. The journeyman teams consist of three members — two climbers and a ground person. A qualified journeyman has more than four years of experience within the electric utility trade. An apprentice lineworker has four or fewer years of experience. This year’s competition includes 50 journeyman teams and 49 apprentices.

Aaron Haderle, Logan Murphy and Joe Watson make up KUA’s journeyman team, with Bruce Thompson serving as alternate. Dustin Kelley is competing individually in the apprentice competition. Bill Groover and Alberto Mercado are serving as support personnel.

“The focus of the rodeo is for participants to perform their skills in a technical, proficient manner, with safety being the #1 priority,” said Chris Gent, KUA’s manager of corporate communications. “The competition helps keep our linemen’s skill level high and gives them a spirit of competition.”

The journeyman competition consists of four timed events: 100 amp cutout replacement, 600 amp switch replacement, cross arm change out, hurtman rescue and insulator change out. The apprentice competition includes four timed events as well as a written test.

All areas of the competition are conducted without the use of live electricity.

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Chris Gent
Manager of Corporate Communications
(407) 933-7777 ext. 1116