Pennyrile Electric, in Hopkinsville, hosted the 11th Kentucky Lineman’s Rodeo at the Western Kentucky Fairgrounds July 30 and 31.
The Kentucky Lineman’s Rodeo is a yearly competition organized by the Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives and showcases the amazing talents of electric cooperative lineman. This year’s rodeo saw 21 of Kentucky’s 26 electric cooperatives’ linemen compete for the coveted titles of top Apprentice, Journeyman, and Lineman team. The competition includes several work-related events: hurt-man, pole top rescue, and skill climb. All events are mainly judged on safety procedures since the rodeo’s main focus is doing line work in the safest possible manner.
Besides the 100+ competing lineman, the rodeo also had 50 judges and 37 volunteers. Family members and co-workers also come out in large numbers to support their various cooperative team members. Sponsors are also important to the success of the rodeo and there were 32 sponsors at varying levels providing support.
The rodeo, which began in 2005, started as part of a state effort to make lineworker safety a top priority for electric co-op utility employees in Kentucky. While the event is a competition, the rodeo tests line workers’ skills and safety practices—scoring rewards safety over speed.