Stillwater News Press

October 25, 2012

Stillwater linemen claim the big prize

By John Filonow
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — The city of Stillwater Electric Utility team placed first overall recently at the 2012 Municipal Electric Systems of Oklahoma Lineman Rodeo in Edmond

Teams competing against Stillwater included Edmond, Ponca City, Purcell, Duncan and Siloam Springs, Ark.

“The primary purpose of this event is to promote safe work skills and practices,” Stillwater Utilities Authority Director Dan Blankenship said. “This competition shows the special qualities a professional lineman must possess — discipline, training, teamwork and confidence.”

The rodeo had competitions in mutual aid, team and individual events in speed climbing, obstacle courses and hurt-man rescue.

Jonathan Noles, journeyman lineman, said the main point of the rodeo was to have fun while working on valuable lineman skills.

Noles said one of the team events was changing on Epoxilator, which is a insulator at the top of a power line. He said teams were penalized for touching portions of the pole which would be electrified in a real life.

Noles won first place in the obstacle course for the  apprentice division. He said he became a journeyman Oct. 1 and still able to compete in the apprentice division.

The obstacle course included activities lineman do everyday, said Casey Lumpkin, journeyman lineman.

Noles, who won second place in the speed climb, said after a competitor reaches the top of the pole, he must descend with an egg in his mouth. This promotes safety because it makes the lineman descend more slowly and not bounce back down the pole on his safety line.

“The main thing is to have fun,” Noles said.

Along with Noles and Lumpkin, Jake Marshall won first in the mutual aid event, in which teams must work together. Marshall also won first place in hurt-man rescue. Both events were for the apprentice team.

For the journeyman team, Kyle Stanley won first in hurt-man rescue, first in speed climb and second place in the mutual aid event.

Blankenship said he was proud of how the linemen performed.

“Their performance is a true indication that we have outstanding individuals in these critical positions,” he said.