Powering Strong Communities

Benefits of Participating in Lineworkers Rodeo Include Collaboration, Networking Opportunities

The benefits of participating in this year’s American Public Power Association’s Lineworkers Rodeo include communication, collaboration and networking opportunities, said Mike Fergus, Director of Electric Distribution and Services at the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities, which is hosting the 2023 Lineworkers Rodeo in Kansas City, Kansas.

“This rodeo provides you a chance to connect with the vendors on a personal level, and learn new initiatives from other utilities from throughout the country,” said Fergus in a Q&A with Public Power Current.

The rodeo will take place from March 31 to April 1. The deadline to register crews to participate in the rodeo is March 3.

 “In my experience, I always leave with something new to bring back to the company, or with a better understanding of our industry. The emphasis on safety is second to none, and even though it is a competition for first place, you are required perform each task with safety first,” Fergus said.

“In our trade, lineman’s families are just as committed as they are. They worry when they leave for restoration efforts and wait for the minute they come home. The rodeo encourages families to come enjoy the day and provides kid zones and other activities. It allows each lineman to showcase their skills with family and friends,” Fergus said.

David Mehlhaff, Chief Communications Officer at BPU, noted that the public power utility was scheduled to host the event in 2020, but had to cancel the rodeo about two weeks before the event because of the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions.

“That was disappointing after our team had put so much planning towards the event. On the plus side, we had a real good idea what was required as we worked on plans for the 2023 event,” he noted.

“Also, since we have staff members that are involved with the International Linemen’s Rodeo which is held annually at the same location, we have a deep knowledge of the grounds and what it takes to put on a successful event.”

When asked to detail BPU’s coordination with APPA on rodeo planning, Mehlhaff said that the APPA rodeo committee and the key staff that work on this annual event “have been doing this for a number of years and they have a system down as well as key learnings from previous rodeo host utilities. Our team, the rodeo committee and association staff have regular communications via e-mail, calls and virtual meetings.”

In a recent episode of APPA’s Public Power Now podcast, Aaron Haderle, Manager of Transmission and Distribution Operations at Kissimmee Utility Authority, and Danette Scudder, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer at the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association, detailed the benefits of public power utilities participating in the rodeo.

Click here for additional details about the rodeo.