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Posted on October 16, 2013

PG&E Crews Heading to International Lineman’s Rodeo This Weekend to Demonstrate Skills

Grass Valley electric workers Anthony Albright and Adam Beene practice in Livermore for this weekend's International Lineman's Rodeo. (Photos by Blake Sumner.)

On Saturday (Oct. 19), linemen from around PG&E’s service area will represent the company and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1245 at the International Lineman’s Rodeo in Kansas. These workers and their colleagues play a key role in providing their community with safe and reliable electric service.

Each year, linemen from around the world gather at the Lineman’s Rodeo to compete in events that demonstrate the highly specialized skills that help utilities like PG&E serve their customers every day. PG&E’s linemen face a wide variety of challenging conditions — including rain storms, blizzards and even wildfires — to deliver safe and reliable service to communities throughout Northern and Central California. These workers undergo years of extensive training to become qualified to perform this important job.

“There’s an old creed out there that says ‘even firemen need heroes,’ and that’s what linemen are,” said Steve Bentley, a PG&E lineman based in Grass Valley and one of the competitors. “We do things that firemen won’t do. Cops do stuff that we won’t. Everybody has a specialty. Going up those poles, working in the underground and stringing that wire, that’s what we do, and we’re darn good at it. And PG&E is one of the best.”

To decide who would earn the right to participate in the International Lineman’s Rodeo and compete for a chance to bring home the title of world champion, some of California’s best linemen participated in a rigorous intra-company competition in August. Teams from Bakersfield, Grass Valley, Fresno and Manteca will represent PG&E and the IBEW. A team of apprentice linemen from Livermore, Fresno and Templeton also will compete.

(Click here to watch a Currents video from the recent PG&E/IBEW rodeo event in Livermore.)

The Rodeo includes events that test skills of electric line workers. Here, Grass Valley lineman Steve Bentley practices the pole climb.

“Nothing is more important than serving our customers safely and reliably, and the International Lineman’s Rodeo is a celebration of the incredible work that our linemen do every day,” said John Parks, senior director of electric maintenance and construction at PG&E. “These highly skilled professionals are responsible for keeping the lights on for 15 million Californians. It’s an honor to give them an opportunity to showcase their craft, and we’re confident that our crews will make us proud.”

Events at the international competition include speed climbing a pole, rescuing a mannequin stranded at the top of a pole, and two additional mystery events that promote safety, teamwork, and cooperation in a fun and entertaining venue. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the event, with more than 200 teams from around the world competing for the title of world champion.

“It’s just going to be a great experience,” said Sean Hunt, a PG&E apprentice lineman based in Templeton. “I’ve never really done anything like this. I love this kind of work, I love the guys that I work with, and now I get to go and take this amazing trip and compete with some of the best of the best from across the globe.”

The following team members will represent PG&E and IBEW Local 1245 at the International Lineman’s Rodeo:

Fresno Division team: Eli Tharp, lineman; Josh Turner, lineman; Jud Van Matre, lineman

Bakersfield team: Jerry Bryant, troubleman, restoration and control; Mike Moss, subforeman; Randy Patt, equipment operator

Steve Bentley and Jim Moon practice their skills in advance of this weekend's competition.

Grass Valley team: Anthony Albright, lineman; Adam Beene, lineman; Jon Richard, lineman

Grass Valley/Manteca team: Steve Bentley, lineman (Grass Valley); George McNeill, lineman (Manteca); Jim Moon, electric crew foreman (Grass Valley)

Apprentice lineworkers: Brandon Dance (Livermore); Ryan Boyd (Fresno); Sean Hunt, general construction (Templeton); Zachary Huseby, general construction (Templeton)



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