Every year, some of the best cowboys and cowgirls of the unionized Lineman industry get together for the International Lineman’s Rodeo and Expo. Held just outside of Kansas City, the competition includes various events and tests designed to find the best linemen around. As is the case every year, we are there to capture the action. This time, we followed a team of linemen from IBEW Local 53 and Par Electric. Join us as we follow their triumphs, their losses, their ups and their downs at this year’s Lineman’s Rodeo.

IBEW Hour Power is an online video magazine that is designed to highlight the pride, professionalism and success of the IBEW. Hour Power is created to increase the professional bond between our members and to showcase them at work to anyone who is willing to watch. Hour Power will allow our members to share tips, win prizes and have a little fun along the way.

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Transcript – 2014 IBEW Lineman’s Rodeo

Thanks for being with us today on IBEW Hour Power. I’m your host, Matthew Walton.

It’s an annual tradition in the IBEW for the best linemen in North America and their families. The Lineman’s Rodeo, held every year outside of Kansas City, hopes to find the best of the best in the line industry by pitting brother against brother in competition. The events: Hurtman rescue, Speed Climb, and two mystery events that the teams can’t prepare for.

This year, we hooked up with a team from IBEW Local 53, from Kansas City. They were competing on their own turf, so in addition to buzz of regular competition, they felt a need to protect their territory. Their pride and strength in competition shows that the men and women who do this job day in and day out do it out of love and a sense of duty. Let’s check it out.

2014 International Lineman’s Rodeo. Bonner Springs, KS.

CHAD PRESTON, LOCAL 53 KC, WORK FOR PARR ELECTRIC BEEN IN THE TRADE 18 YEARS.

MY NAME IS TYLER YUSTEN, I’M WITH PARR ELECTRIC LOCAL 53 KC AND I’VE GOT 8 YEARS IN THE TRADE.

MY NAME IS ANDY PEARSON, I WORK FOR PARR ELECTRIC BEEN IN THE TRADE FOR ABOUT 6 YEARS. LOCAL 53.

These three men you see are part of a crew competing in the team event of the 2014 International Lineman’s Rodeo. They work as a team to finish four events, and are judged on both speed and mistakes – gigs, in their Lineman speak. The team with the highest point total wins.

As they stand around before dawn, waiting for the competition to start, they are strategizing and joking around to stay loose. That strategizing continues all the way until the start of the 1st event of the day for them, the hurtman rescue.

I’M GONNA MAKE THE CALL. YOU’RE GONNA GRAB EXTENDO…
AND YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE TO PUT IT BACK TOGETHER. – LET IT HANG.

YOU GOTTA MAKE SURE YOU GOTTA YELL SLACK … YEAH….-WE CAN START LETTING HIM DOWN AS SOON AS YOU’RE CUT.

WE’RE GONNA BE EFFICIENT AND WE’RE GONNA RUN CLEAN. …. WE’VE WORKED TOGETHER AS A CREW, SO AS LONG AS WE RUN CLEAN, WE’LL GET A DECENT TIME … WE RODEOED TOGETHER LAST YEAR … ESPECIALLY THE HURT MAN IT’S A EVERY YEAR EVENT

The team goes through the first event without a hitch.

WE DID WELL. WE TALKED IT THROUGH. ALL THE COMMUNICATIONS WENT WELL, NO GIGS. WE’VE DONE IT FOR A COUPLE YEARS NOW AS A TEAM, SO WE’RE ON THE SAME PAGE.

YOU GOTTA MAKE YOUR KNOT TIGHT. WHEN YOU TIE OFF YOUR DUMMY. YOU GOTTA GET IT TIGHT ON HIS CHEST. OTHER THAN THAT, IT’S PRETTY SIMPLE.

WE GOTTA REMIND EACH OTHER WHAT NOT TO DO, WHAT NOT TO FORGET.

EVERYBODY WAS ON THEIR GAME, YOU KNOW, FELT LIKE WE HAD A CLEAN RUN, AND THE JUDGES DID TOO.

WITHOUT COMMUNICATION WE AINT GOT NOTHING. WE GOTTA BE ABLE TO TALK AND KNOW WHERE EACH PERSON IS AND WHAT THEY’RE DOIN.

TWO TWENTY SIX, SOMETHING IN THAT BALL PARK. BUT NO DEDUCTIONS.

THE ONLY THING THAT WE REALLY FOCUS ON IS RUNNING CLEAN, AND NOT HURTING EACH OTHER.

Next up, is the first mystery event, where they will be forced to repair a bad splice up in the air. After having the rules explained to them, they are a little confused on the rules, but they are ready nonetheless.

WHAT DID HE SAY ABOUT THE RATCHET? IT HAS TO STAY ON THE BOTTOM OF THE STICK UNTIL ALL OF THEM ARE FUCKIN CHEWED OFF? NO, THE SHOTGUN… AND IF YOU DROP SOMETHING, YOU GOTTA YELL HEAD ACHE

TALK, JUST TALK MAN. TALK IT OUT WHILE YOU’RE UP THERE.

IBEW 53? YES SIR, WE GOT YOU A POLE, LET’S GET IT. SMELLING AWFUL GOOD AROUND THERE…

It wasn’t the best run of their lives, and the team is a little concerned about what the judges thought of their performance.

I SAID LET’S GET OUT OF HERE BEFORE WE TALK OURSELVES INTO ANY MORE DEDUCTS. …. WE NEVER TOOK THE 3 QUARTERS OFF.

THAT WAS A TOUGH ONE …

IT STARTED OFF SLOPPY ENDED SLOPPY. LOL. THERE WAS A LOT OF LITTLE THINGS THAT COULD GO WRONG, WE GOT CAUGHT ON A LITTLE COUPLE DEALS – EVERYTHING ESCALATED, A LOT OF LITTLE THINGS

AT THE END OF THE DAY, WE GOT A 20 MINUTE MEAN TIME, … BUT WE’RE STILL 10 POINTS IN THE HOLE NOW.

At this point, the team is hoping that other teams struggle on that event as much as they did.

YOU KNOW YOU GOTTA GO ON, RUN CLEAN THE REST OF THE DAY, AND HOPE THEY HAD THE SAME BUM LUCK YOU DID … WE LIKE DOIN IT ANYWAY, OTHERWISE WE WON’T BE OUT HERE … PRESSURE’S OFF, ALL WE’VE GOT TO DO IS GAIN GROUND SO WE’RE GOING TO MAKE THE BEST OF IT THE REST OF THE DAY AND MAKE THE BEST OF A BAD SITUATION.

Making the best of this situation means a clean, fast run on the speed climb.

TAKE YOUR TIME, DON’T GET IN A HURRY!

IT’S ALRIGHT. IT DON’T MATTER. GIG FREE. SO THAT’S THE BIG THING, RIGHT THERE.

they get the results

NO BROKEN EGGS, THAT’S ALL THAT MATTERS.

GIGS IS A BIG THING ON THAT, ANY CRACK, ANY DIMPLE, ANY MARK ON THE EGGS IS THE BIG THING, THAT’S 10 POINTS. BIG. AS YOU WELL KNOW.

Finally, the fourth event, the 2nd mystery event.

YOU KNOW WHAT THE OBVIOUS DEDUCTION WAS.

YEAH, IT WAS A DAMN GOOD TIME…THAT 14 MINUTES, DID THAT INCLUDE THE 5 MINUTES OF ME? DAMN, WE SMOKED IT.

After all four events, the guys reflected on why they do it.

LAST EVENT, WELL WE STRUGGLED TO TAG OUT THE SECONDARY. AFTER WE COULDN’T DO THAT, ME AND THE OTHER CLIMBER WENT UP THE POLE AND WORKED IT OUT. PRETTY GOOD TIME BUT IT ALL HAS TO COME TOGETHER AND IT DIDN’T.

THE BROTHERHOOD, AND THE CAMRADERIE, AND DOING WHAT YOU LOVE TO DO ANYWAY, BECAUSE LET’S FACE IT NOBODY WOULD BE DOING THIS IF YOU DIDN’T LOVE IT, CAUSE YOU WOULD HATE IT. THIS ISN’T FOR EVERBODY. BUT WE LOVE WHAT WE DO.

IT WAS A GOOD TIME, FUN EVENTS …

WE’D PROBABLY DO IT TOMORROW, I’D SEND CHAD TO ….GIVE THESE GUYS SOME STICKS TO WORK WITH FOR THE NEXT YEAR

BIG THANKS LOCAL 53 FOR PAYING OUR WAY TODAY AND MAKING A FUN WEEKEND FOR US, AND THANKS TO PARR FOR THE BAGS AND LINES AND THE THINGS THEY DO FOR US ON A DAILY BASIS.

 

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Matthew Walton

Matthew Walton is the host of IBEW Hour Power and has been with the program since its beginnings in 2007. As an IBEW Hour Power host and producer, Matthew travels across the United States and Canada visiting job sites, training centers, and union halls to tell the stories of the IBEW brothers and sisters that work so hard every day.

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