Approximately 200 electric linemen throughout Georgia displayed their skills during the 14th annual Georgia Lineman’s Rodeo, May 3, 2008, at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter in Perry.

During the day-long competition, the linemen showcased the skills they rely on to restore electricity under grueling conditions—stifling heat, freezing cold, torrential rain and high wind.

“These workers are dedicated to their profession,” said Jim Wright, Georgia Electric Membership Corp. vice president of training, education and safety. “It’s physically demanding work that most people cannot do, would not do.”

In a profession where a mistake can mean a critical injury or death, skill, safety and speed are crucial.

The linemen competed in the following categories: 12-kV post insulator change, three-phase insulator change, 4-kV cut-out installation and jumper removal, and a simulated rescue of an injured coworker from a 40-ft.-high power pole.

“Many of the guys view their vocation as a public service,” said Jimmy Norman, light superintendent with the Albany Water, Gas & Light Commission and rodeo chair. “These linemen are very serious about keeping the lights on for millions of Georgians and neighboring states that need our help.”

The linemen competed as journeymen teams, apprentices and seniors (those aged 45 and older) in one of three divisions: electric membership corporations (EMCs), investor-owned utilities and electric cities of Georgia. First-, second- and third-place team and individual awards were presented to journeymen, apprentices and seniors in each division for best overall score, best team and best event awards.

Electric utilities are hoping the Lineman’s Rodeo will leave a lasting impression on the public, possibly prompting some to join the ranks of electric linemen. According to Ken Rose, Georgia Power training specialist, one of the biggest challenges for power companies is employing a well-trained and skilled electric line crew.

“We hope that people come to the event, get caught up in the excitement and consider a career as an electric lineman. It’s an honorable way to make a living and a great way to provide for your family,” Norman said.

For more information on the 2008 Georgia Lineman’s Rodeo, visit www.garodeo.com.