CPS Energy linemen: THIS is how we rodeo!

By on July 18, 2013

Ever wonder about those guys working at the top of an electrical pole?

You can see them in action this Saturday, July 20 at the 17th annual Texas Lineman’s Rodeo at Nolte Park in Seguin from 6:45 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Check out this footage from last’s year’s rodeo:

The rodeo, which will host teams of linemen from all over the state, is hosted by the Texas Lineman’s Rodeo Association, a non-profit organization created to offer Texas lineworkers a chance to showcase their profession of finessing high voltage, dangerous linework.

It takes 10-15 years of training to become a journeyman lineman, said Fred James, senior vice-president of energy delivery services. CPS Energy employs 141 linemen and 121 trainees.

“We grow our own here,” said James. “We don’t hire journeymen from outside.”

CPS Energy linemen work on energized lines, meaning the power is still flowing through them. That can mean up to 34,500 volts of live electricity at arm’s length. Scary thought: as little as .1 milli-amps of electricity — the equivalent of just .0001 volts can send the human heart into cardiac arrest.

Yep. It’s dangerous work.

“But safety is our highest priority,” said Lauro Garza, senior director enterprise occupational safety and health, “because if it’s not, we don’t go home that day.”

The rodeo offers a rare opportunity for lineworker’s families and others to see first-hand what it takes to keep the lights on. Having a barbecue doesn’t hurt, either.

Earlier this year, a CPS Energy team traveled to Kissimee, Florida, for the 13th annual American Public Power Association’s Lineworkers’ Rodeo, which pits teams from public power companies from across the country against each other in mysterious sounding events such as “cross-arm change-out” and “URD elbow change-out.”

 

Rodeo practice: Travis Wiatrek (left) and  Michael Compton on the pole listen as groundsman Paul White and Master Judge Dennis Sutter offer  instruction and advice.

Rodeo practice: Travis Wiatrek (left) and Michael Compton on the pole listen as groundsman Paul White and Master Judge Dennis Sutter offer
instruction and advice.

For Saturday’s event, Alfred Duque, Ahmad Butler, Gil Martinez and Michael Compton of the Northwest Service Center; Daniel Jimenez and Paul White from the Eastside Service Center and Travis Wiatrek and Frank Mata from the Southwest Service Center will compete on the two CPS Energy Rodeo Teams.

Dennis Sutter from Eastside will serve as a judge. We wish them all a hearty good luck!

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