WINTER GARDEN, Fla. – Florida will be represented at an Oct. 13 worldwide event known as the “Olympics for linemen.”
Twelve linemen from Duke Energy will be competing at the annual International Lineman’s Rodeo. It’s not your typical rodeo where cowboys ride horses or bulls and have to stay on them as long as possible.
Duke Energy lineman Tanner O’Shea is among a dozen colleagues that will have to climb poles to perform a series of events and show off their technical skills.
“We’re really competitive in our job, we really love what we do and it really gets to show our skills off to everybody else,” O’Shea said.
This will be the second time O’Shea competes in the event.
“We have to do a hurt man rescue – rescue a dummy off a pole.” O’Shea said.
The 180-pound dummy is hooked to the top of a pole. The linemen have to bring it down in less than two minutes.
“You just kind of have to figure out for yourself what’s gonna be the best way for you to climb, what’s gonna be the best technique,” O’Shea said.
He’s being coached by his father, Dan O’Shea who also works for Duke Energy and has been in this line of work for over 30 years.
“You don’t really worry about time; time will come with the proper technique, so it’s just repetitive. These guys are the cream of the crop, they’re gonna be the top in the state of Florida for sure,” Dan O’Shea said.
Another event is a speed climb with a unique twist.
“To make that a challenge, we put an egg in our mouth, a raw egg, and you can’t crack the egg. They’re events scored at 100 points, and you wanna go a hundred points throughout the day, the highest score wins,” Tanner O’ Shea said.
“It’s just the guys get the opportunity to come out here demonstrate their skills — speed, safety,” Marvin MacDonald said. He’s a trainer for Duke Energy at the Winter Garden training center.
The competition started in 1984 as a small event to understand and recognize the work linemen do. Now lineworkers from all over the world compete and it prepares them for real life situations.
“As you can see them practicing the hurt man rescue. That’s one of the skills — anybody ever injured while working up the pole, speed, safety once again, getting the person down and getting the first aid and treatment they need,” MacDonald said.
The International Lineman’s Rodeo is Oct. 13 at the National Agricultural Hall of Fame rodeo grounds in Bonner Springs, Kansas.
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