Local Linemen to Compete in Statewide Rodeo

KISSIMMEE, Fla., Feb. 25, 2019 – Fourteen linemen from Kissimmee Utility Authority will compete against linemen from other utilities throughout the state in Saturday’s 19th annual Florida Lineman Competition in Gainesville, 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 27 journeyman teams and 77 apprentices.

“This annual rodeo enables linemen to compete for professional recognition and practice essential skills in a safe environment,” said Brian Horton, KUA’s vice president of engineering and operations. “The competition 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 – with more than four years of lineworker experience. 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 in the journeyman competition will be:

Team 1 – Austin Franey, Shane Paras and Billy White

Team 2 – Danny Kelly, Kevon McKinsey and Tony Nasco

Lars Akkerman, Nick Aviles, Nathan Gault, Austin Gunther, Chris Kitting, Brendan Laflamme, Billy Sutphin and Shane Yarborough will compete in the apprentice competition.

Robert Diaz and David Wolfe will serve as event judges. Aaron Haderle and Brian Horton will serve in support roles.

The competition will be held at the GRU Eastside Operations Center, 4747 North Main Street, in Gainesville. 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 33 public power communities across the state that collectively serve 14 percent of Florida’s electric customers.

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.