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Texas Co-ops Sweep Awards at Lineman's Rodeo

July 22, 2013

Linemen from 12 electric cooperatives won a total of 38 top awards at the 17th annual Texas Lineman's Rodeo competition July 20.

"Co-ops swept it," said Doug Schlemmer, a Fayette EC journeyman lineman, who served as the rodeo's master judge. The success is a testament to cooperatives' support of their employees, he explained.

Co-op linemen were among the 188 participants forming teams or performing solo to showcase the skills of their profession. Competitions included the pole climb, hurtman rescue, and insulator and cross-arm change. Apprentices also completed hands-on tasks and a written test.

The event, hosted by the Texas Lineman's Rodeo Association at Nolte Island Park in Seguin, allows the linemen to practice safety techniques and experience real-life scenarios.

"The Lineman's Rodeo teaches these guys safety, and it teaches them how to actually work because we judge everything, and there is a criteria they have to go by," said TEC Loss Control Manager Danny Williams, who served as the chief judge of tool inspection.

The Texas Lineman's Rodeo also allows lineworkers to show facets of their work to friends and family, who attend en masse to support the competitors. The event is a rare chance for those outside the profession to witness the day-to-day work of line crews.

Family-friendly events included a golf tournament with proceeds benefitting a scholarship fund, a trade show, fish fry, barbecue cook-off and banquet. Also this year, the crowd viewed the recently debuted "Storm Soldiers" documentary.