Linemen must always be ready to take on the elements, whether facing rain, wind, sun or snow. But their real challenge is not weather. Linemen are at their best when working to keep current flowing down the power lines that provide electricity to homes and businesses. Linemen are proud of their profession, yet seldom have a forum to show off their acumen.

That was not the case on Oct. 18, 2003, when blue skies and sunshine greeted the more than 3000 electric utility linemen who gathered from around the United States and Canada, as well as England, Ireland and Jamaica, to compete in the 20th Annual International Lineman's Rodeo held in Bonner Springs, Kansas, U.S. The event drew 232 journeyman teams (three-person crews) and 246 apprentices (singles) from 114 utilities. The line crews demonstrated their line working skills by competing in several events, including the pole climb, hurt man rescue and two mystery events. To make it to Bonner Springs, many of the crews had already participated and won in regional events.

For linemen, the objectives never change. Linemen always seek to complete each task as safely, quickly and precisely as possible. At the rodeo, linemen have the opportunity to learn from one another. Moreover, the rodeo gives linemen the opportunity to bring their families to an event where they are center stage.

The rodeo was preceded by a two-day exposition at Bartle Hall Convention Center in Kansas City, Missouri, U.S., where about 80 vendors demonstrated the materials, tools, belts, coverups and line apparel that line workers use every day.

The biggest social event was the barbecue on Friday evening. In addition to a live band for entertainment, much of the adrenaline for the evening's soiree was supplied by the linemen themselves as they bartered with one another for company T-shirts, hats and belt buckles.

The 20th Annual International Lineman's Rodeo and Exposition ended with an awards banquet at Bartle Hall on Saturday evening.

International Lineman's Rodeo Scholarship Program

The International Lineman's Rodeo Association has established a Scholarship Program. The main objective of this program is to inspire and promote the lineman trade for today and the future. This scholarship program is designed to assist students entering an Electrical Lineman Training School and achieve the completion of the training program.

The International Lineman's Rodeo Scholarship Committee has the following representatives for the selection process: Dennis W. Kerr, Detroit Edison; Jerry Evans, Kansas City Power and Light; Steve Laquinto, PECO Energy; Rick Childers, IBEW Local #66; and Charley Young, Southwestern Line Constructors. These individuals have worked diligently to establish the guidelines for the distribution of the scholarships and have spent many hours in the selection process.

The following criteria have been established for the Scholarship Program:

A. Recommendation by a Journeyman Lineman

B. High-School Diploma or Equivalent GED

C. Letters of recommendation from a high-school advisor or equivalent GED advisor and a friend or relative

D. A letter written by the candidate to the scholarship committee on why he should receive the scholarship, including financial need

In 2002, the International Lineman's Rodeo Association presented its first $1000 scholarship in the name of Billy Begnaud to James Dillow, who attended Manhattan Vocational Technical School for the January Class of 2003.

In 2003, the International Lineman's Rodeo Association will present five US$1000 scholarships. It will continue providing the Billy Begnaud Scholarship plus four additional International Lineman's Rodeo Scholarships.

Recipients of the 2003 scholarships are:

Brian Smith Utah Valley State Billy Begnaud Scholarship
Jordan Clark Manhattan Vocational ILRA Scholarship
Tyler Naylor Manhattan Vocational ILRA Scholarship
Bradley Vaughn Northwest Iowa Community ILRA Scholarship
Matthew Soukup Northeast Community ILRA Scholarship

For more information about the scholarship program, visit the International Lineman's Rodeo Web site at www.powerlineman.com.

Winners of the 2003 International Lineman's Rodeo

Journeyman Event Winners

Overall Journeyman Winners
Place Company Team Members
1st Cobb EMC Cole, Brumelow, Lee
2nd Georgia Power Co. Bell, Jarrard, Simpson
3rd Georgia Power Co. Culverhouse, Polatty, Guilfoyle
4th Savannah Electric Hendrick, Hall, Gracen
5th CenterPoint Energy Clapp, Goyer, Pace
Journeyman Division Winners
Place Company Team Members
Investor-Owned Georgia Power Co. Bell, Jarrard, Simpson
Municipal New Bern Utilities Small, Rowe, Harper
REA EMC & Co-op Cobb EMC Cole, Brumelow, Lee
Contractor IBEW Local 17 Hinkle, Meicher, Angell
Senior AEP Ybarra, Langle, Goodwin
Pole Climb
Place Company Team Members
1st AEP-Swepco Coe, Weems, Iman
2nd Nstar Electric Co. Sutherland, Horn, Berardi
3rd We Energies Klein, Klein, Gaynor
Hurt Man Rescue
Place Company Team Members
1st Jackson EMC Connell, Whitmire, Winkler
2nd Georgia Power Co. Jarrard, Bell, Simpson
3rd We Energies Klein, Klein, Gaynor
Mystery Event 1: Insulator Changeout
Place Company Team Members
1st Georgia Power Co. Culverhouse, Polatty, Guilfoyle
2nd Georgia Power Co. Bell, Jarrard, Simpson
3rd Savannah Electric Hendrick, Hall, Gracen
Mystery Event 2: Changeout Disconnects
Place Company Team Members
1st Cobb EMC Cole, Brumelow, Lee
2nd Georgia Power Co. Cochran, Hines, Miles
3rd Souther California Edison Lekvoid, Lee, Gossett
Apprentice Event Winners
Top Overall Apprentices
Place Company Apprentice
1st Cinergy Jason Seiter
2nd Xcel Energy James Stovall
3rd Georgia Power Co. Tim Heath
Apprentice Division Winners
Place Company Team Members
Investor-Owned Cinergy Jason Seiter
Municipal Austin Energy Jeff Bardford
REA EMC & Co-op Jackson EMC Stephen Poole
Contractor Hooper Corp. Wade Harshman
Written Test
Place Company Apprentice
1st Georgia Power Co. Tim Heath
2nd Cinergy Jason Seiter
3rd Xcel Energy James Stovall
Hurt Man Rescue
Place Company Apprentice
1st Greystone Power Tony Brown
2nd Cobb EMC Jim Davis
3rd Georgia Power Co. Jesse Brock
Pole Climb
Place Company Apprentice
1st Cobb EMC Brandon Cook
2nd Jamaica Public Service Co. Dwayne Muschette
3rd Cobb EMC Jim Davis
Mystery Event: Relocate Arrestor & Bracket
Place Company Apprentice
1st Navopache Electric Toby Claude
2nd Savannah Electric Benji Hildebrant
3rd AEP Michael Brock