‘Gallop Poles’: Dayton Rodeo Gets a Helping Hand From the Local Co-op

Midland Power Co-op set poles to display Dayton Championship Rodeo sponsors, which includes the Boone, Iowa, co-op. (Image Courtesy of Nathanial Brown Productions/nathanialbrown.com)

Line crews at Midland Power Cooperative, headquartered in Boone, Iowa, spent part of their summer giving back to their community, one pole at a time.

In August, the co-op donated and set four new power poles to display sponsorship banners at the annual Dayton Championship Rodeo, an annual event that attracts more than 10,000 spectators to the town of less than 800 residents over Labor Day weekend.

“The rodeo has a huge impact on our area,” said Matt Johnson, a co-chairman of the event that originated in Dayton 85 years ago. “It’s responsible for bringing in about $350,000 to our local economies. The linemen were wonderful to work with, and we’re appreciative of Midland’s donation and their ongoing support.”

The four-day event is sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and includes a $40,000 purse. Midland Power is one of the sponsors.

“We were excited to help,” said Midland Power CEO Bill McKim. “The rodeo is one of those jewels of our surrounding service area. It not only provides tremendous economic benefits, it also showcases the community and central Iowa to visitors from across the nation.”

Earlier this summer, the co-op donated and set 24 poles in a field outside of Iowa Falls, where hundreds of firefighters, active and retired, and their families set up camps and RVs for the Iowa Firefighters Association’s annual convention Sept. 7-11. Six linemen, Midland Power’s director of operations, line superintendent and warehouse foreman worked to electrify the event, which will be held at the same spot next year.

“The guys always enjoy getting the opportunity to give back in the community,” said Brian Killeen, co-op line superintendent. “While the project was a bit unique in just how many poles we needed to set, it was a great chance for our apprentice linemen to get some training while also aiding a great organization and cause.”

Cathy Cash is a staff writer for NRECA.