Lineworker’s Safety Rodeo highlights skills of the trade

Line personnel across Illinois gathered in Springfield for the annual Lineworker’s Safety Rodeo coordinated by the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives on Wednesday, Sept. 28. Fourteen teams from 12 electric co-ops, one municipal electric utility, and one team of Lincoln Land Community College (LLCC) linework students participated in the friendly competition. 

The rodeo highlighted the skills lineworkers use every day to keep the power on. While competitors were scored on agility, speed and accuracy, those skills are only secondary to safety when it comes to linework. Judges scored safe work above all else. In the real world, linework isn’t about getting the job done quickly, it is about completing the job safely.

Held at the LLCC Line School Yard, participants competed in four team and five individual events: a 40-foot climb, hurt man rescue, H-structure obstacle course, a surprise written exam for the mystery event, and a head-to-head climbing challenge.

Scores for each event are based on completion time, proper execution of the task and safety. Deductions were made to a team or individual’s overall performance score due to mistakes such as slipping when climbing poles, dropping tools or executing inappropriate procedures or methods.

Upon completion of events and after scores were tabulated, Shelby Electric Cooperative (SEC) lineworkers Jamie Sharp, Dalton Brown and Brian Chevalier, who combined for a three-man team, won Best Overall Team. SEC lineworker Lucas Morse came out on top as the Best Overall Individual.

The final event of the rodeo was the climbing challenge – a head-to-head event that required lineworkers to climb up a 40-foot pole, ring a bell and climb back down. The fastest speed moved to the next round; however, participants were automatically disqualified for safety violations, including slips, because speed is secondary to safety. Reese Snider, a lineworker representing Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative, was named the victor of the challenge. 


Pictured above is Shelby Electric Cooperative lineworker Lucas Morse competing in the hurt man rescue event at the Lineworker’s Safety Rodeo. He received the highest marks overall and won Best Overall Individual in the competition.