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Huntsville Utilities has spark in Lineman Rodeo

HUNTSVILLE – If you thought rodeos were all about bull riding and catching the biggest fish, you may be shocked to discover utility linemen have a power-busting event of their own.

What’s more, Huntsville Utilities has its own championship Lineman Rodeo Team that roped a few awards of its own over the weekend.

The Huntsville Utilities Lineman Rodeo Team brought home 10 awards from the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association Lineman Rodeo in Clarksville, Tennessee. Now that’s some serious power!

It was the 26th year for the rodeo, where lineworkers from public power utilities across the Tennessee Valley compete in events based on safety, skill, and knowledge in their field.

The rodeo includes competitive events for apprentices, journeymen teams of three, individual linemen and senior individual linemen ages 45 and up.

Competitions such as the Cutout Change-Out are simulated energized events at 15kv. Teams replace one 15kV, 100-amp cutout unit and a lightning arrestor.

The Hurtman Rescue competition focuses on highlighting safe work practices. The Polyinsulator Change Out is a simulated, grounded event performed in work gloves where line workers change out a single-phase insulator installed on a 40’ pole.

This year’s rodeo saw the largest number of competitors in its history, organizers said, with more than 250 lineworkers from 40 utilities across five states.

Huntsville Utilities’ Todd Payne brought home trophies in the Senior Division for third place in the Cutout Change-Out, third place in the Hurtman Rescue, and second place overall Senior Lineman.

In the Team Division, the Huntsville Utilities Team 20 of Cole Border, Adam Thomas and Colby Lipham won the Mystery Event, the Polyinsulator Change Out, and the Hurtman Rescue competitions.

Huntsville Utilities Team 18 of Andrew Brown, Matt Hubbard and Ronnie Mullins took third place in the Polyinsulator Change Out competition and third place in Overall Teams.

In the Apprentice Division, Huntsville Utilities’ Zeb Ferguson took second place in the Apprentice Written Test; and Taylor Weakly was runnerup in Wooden Brace Change-Out.

Next year’s TVPPA Lineman Rodeo will be June 7-8 in Chattanooga.

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