By Paul Doherty
On Saturday (July 29), some of the country’s most talented line workers will compete in the sixth annual PG&E/IBEW West Coast Lineman’s Rodeo in Livermore, and you’re invited.
This isn’t a traditional rodeo so there’s no bull riding or calf roping. Instead, the West Coast Lineman’s Rodeo features competitions designed to focus on skills and safety and to simulate line work including speed climbing, simulated rescues, asset repair and replacement, and more.
The event, at the PG&E Training Center, also includes a long-lining demonstration, a heart-pounding technique where helicopters transport line workers to the top of transmission towers and other hard-to-access places to do their work.
The rodeo is free, open to the public and includes activities for spectators including a shaved-ice truck, a barbecue lunch, vendor booths offering tons of goodies, and — of course — the opportunity to watch and cheer on linemen as they compete for the chance to earn a trip to the International Lineman’s Rodeo this October in Kansas. For kids, there will be a rock-climbing wall and a petting zoo.
But the West Coast rodeo isn’t solely for PG&E linemen: There will be competitors from throughout California and the United States, including crews and apprentices from Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and Rocky Mountain Power, among others.
In addition to being a great time out, the event is also an opportunity to get up-close and personal with linemen and to learn about line work.
“If you’ve ever wondered what exactly those PG&E linemen are doing when they’re up in their buckets working on lines or climbing poles in your neighborhood, or if you’re simply looking for a family-friendly outing, we invite you to join us this Saturday in Livermore,” said Jeff Wilding, manager of employee qualification and safety improvement for PG&E. “And for recent high-school graduates or anyone interested in a career in the energy industry, it’s a great opportunity to learn about the power lineman trade and what it takes to become a line worker.”
The event kicks off promptly at 8 a.m. with a military veteran turned PG&E lineman climbing a 100-foot pole to raise the American flag for the National Anthem and it concludes around 3 p.m. with an award ceremony where competitors will learn if they’ve advanced to represent PG&E and IBEW 1245 at the international rodeo later this year.
Visit the West Coast Lineman’s Rodeo website for more information about the event and be sure to check out the video at the bottom of the page to get a sense of what the day is like.
PG&E’s training center at is located at 7205 National Drive in Livermore.
Email Currents at Currents@pge.com.