There are a wide range of reasons why public power utilities across the U.S. should participate in the American Public Power Association’s (APPA) lineworkers rodeo, which will take place next month in Texas, including the opportunity for lineworkers to network with peers, showcase their skills and knowledge and demonstrate the importance of teamwork, public power officials said.
The rodeo, which will be held March 25-26 in Austin, Texas, is the foremost showcase of public power lineworker skill and knowledge. At the rodeo, journeyman and apprentice lineworkers compete for professional recognition, attend training courses, and practice essential skills in a safe environment.
“The lineworkers rodeo brings public power linemen and apprentices from all over the nation together to showcase their technical and safety skills,” said Aaron Haderle, Manager of T&D Operations at Florida public power utility Kissimmee Utility Authority.
“It also gives them a platform to network with their peers and to share experiences from their respective regions. Over the years this has trickled into mutual aid in which the same individuals are working side by side in natural disaster events to restore services to our customers,” Haderle noted.
Haderle is chair of APPA’s executive rodeo committee.
The lineworkers rodeo “is the nation’s premier place to showcase and celebrate the unsung heroes of our communities,” said Jackie Sargent, General Manager of Austin Energy.
“Lineworkers do the hard and dangerous work that energizes all our lives,” she said. “The rodeo not only provides professional recognition in a friendly competition, but also educational courses, practical training in a safe environment and connections with peers nationwide, which is vital during disaster response across communities. Plus, there’s no better time to visit Austin than in the Spring,” Sargent said.
With respect to how Austin Energy is preparing to host the rodeo, Sargent said, “We have a team made up of every department within Austin Energy working closely with APPA to make this 20th anniversary the best Rodeo ever. We are already constructing the 30-acre event grounds with more than 100 power poles. We are recruiting about 200 volunteers to welcome the nation’s lineworkers to Austin. We also have five teams ready to go head-to-head with any team in the nation. So, bring your best and do your best because we are ready for you.”
“In the entirety of my career in public power, there are few things I have seen that more perfectly capture the spirit and values of the industry than the lineworkers rodeo,” said Danette Scudder, Executive Vice President of Member Services & Strategic Relations at The Tennessee Valley Public Power Association, Inc. (TVPPA). Along with her role at TVPPA, Scudder is also a member of the executive rodeo committee.
“The rodeo allows lineworkers to display the art and science of their craft, all while demonstrating the importance of teamwork,” she said. “The event provides a unique learning opportunity, encourages safe work practices all while rodeo participants build a camaraderie and life-long relationships.”
Additional details about the rodeo including how to register are available here.