BPU officials urge public power utilities to participate in rodeo

Officials with the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities (BPU) on Nov. 15 said they would like to see the 2020 Public Power Lineworkers Rodeo be the largest rodeo to date and encouraged fellow public power utilities to participate in the event, which will be held April 17-18.

Next year marks the 20th anniversary of the Public Power Lineworkers Rodeo, which will be held in Kansas City, Mo., and Bonner Springs, Kansas, and hosted by BPU.

David Mehlhaff, BPU’s chief communications officer, and Jeremy Ash, executive director of electric operations at the public power utility, are co-chairs of organizing the rodeo.

“Naturally, we’ve been discussing this for quite some time,” Mehlhaff said in reference to planning for the rodeo.

BPU officials have had discussions with officials at the National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame in Bonner Springs related to using their grounds for rodeo activities.

The National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame owns the property where the International Lineman’s Rodeo is held every year.

“We have received all the spec from the linemens’ rodeo judges committee for all of the journeymen events,” Ash noted. “We’re starting to pull all of that material together,” he said.

Ash said that with respect to the rodeo site, he has nailed down agreements for the provision of golf carts and trash service.

“We’ve identified our large, in-kind sponsor and the tent rental,” he noted. “Things with the grounds are moving along – hopefully the weather holds out for us and we can get a large part of it up prior to full blown winter hitting us.”

Mehlhaff noted that because the International Lineman’s Rodeo is a larger show, “a lot of the infrastructure is already there.”

When asked to comment on BPU’s coordination with the American Public Power Association on rodeo planning, Mehlhaff said that the Association’s team led by Mike Hyland, Senior Vice President, Engineering Services, is “top notch.”

He said “they’ve been doing this for so long they have a system down. They really prepare the host utility with a Bible, so to speak, of what’s expected of that host utility and what they’re going to do.”

Mehlhaff said that regular conference calls are already underway between BPU officials and Association staff.

The benefit of public power is that BPU can reach out to prior public power utility rodeo hosts and ask them questions “and you just learn from each other,” he went on to say.

“David, Jeremy and the rest of the team at BPU have been a pleasure to work with as we lay the groundwork for what is sure to be a successful rodeo,” said Hyland.

BPU is hoping that next year’s rodeo will be the biggest ever, Mehlhaff said, adding that would be a great way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Public Power Lineworkers Rodeo.

“We just would love to see every utility come if they can” to the rodeo.

To register a team for the rodeo, send an email to: [email protected]. Additional information about the rodeo is available here.