Co-op Pride for All to See at International Lineman’s Rodeo

Jackson EMC’s teams came home from the 2018 International Lineman’s Rodeo with some coveted souvenirs. (Photo By: Jackson EMC)

There was no shortage of electric cooperative pride at the 2018 International Lineman’s Rodeo.

A journeyman team from Jefferson, Georgia-based Jackson EMC took top honors in the REA (co-op) division—and came in second in the overall journeyman division—at the 35th annual rodeo held Oct. 10-13 in Kansas. They scored 400 points with zero deductions in a time of 22:03.89.

But Jackson EMC has even more to be proud of: A second journeyman team took the No. 2 spot on the REA list and finished in third place overall.

“The rodeo is a great opportunity for our linemen to show their skills and knowledge of safety in this profession,” said Tommy Parker, Jackson EMC’s director of operation services. “We’re proud to support these linemen who participate in the rodeo and their fantastic results against so many other top competitors.”

Two journeyman teams from Pedernales Electric Cooperative in Johnson City, Texas, finished third and fourth in the REA division.

The REA journeyman top 10 was rounded out by teams from White River Valley Electric Cooperative (Branson, Missouri); Boone Electric Cooperative (Columbia, Missouri); Central Virginia Electric Cooperative (Arrington); Midwest Energy (Hays, Kansas); Owen Electric Cooperative (Owenton, Kentucky); and Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative (Chase City, Virginia).

“I believe that the [cooperative] division is historically the toughest,” said Mark Visnosky, a White River Valley journeyman. Colleague Jason Crouch agreed, saying, “It’s basically the lineman Olympics.”

There were 220 journeyman teams and 290 apprentices from co-ops, municipals and investor-owned utilities in this year’s rodeo. They competed in events including the hurt man rescue and pole climb.

In the apprentice competition, lineworkers from Pedernales Electric Cooperative took four of the five top spots in the REA division. Nicholas Morris came in first, scoring 494 out of a possible 500 points, which also earned him the No. 2 spot on the overall apprentice list.

Michael W. Kahn is a staff writer at NRECA.