KUA Linemen Victorious at Statewide Rodeo

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KISSIMMEE, Fla., March 21, 9:00 am — Kissimmee Utility Authority (KUA) crews brought home a first place trophy from the first annual Florida Lineman’s Rodeo on March 17. Nineteen teams from 11 of Florida‘s electric utilities gathered in Lakeland to exhibit their craft and showcase their skills.

While “rodeo” implies competition based on speed and skill, safe work is the number one priority, says KUA manager of communications Chris Gent. “These linemen take their jobs very seriously,” said Gent. “It may look easy, but there’s nothing easy about climbing a 40-foot utility pole. While the men want to do well, they also want to compete in a safe environment. After all, in a work situation, it’s their lives that are on the line and there’s no room for error.”

KUA’s two crews participated in a series of 5 events; 4 events were known in advance and the fifth was a mystery event that was revealed at the start of the competition. Two of the most popular events were the hurt man rescue and the pole climb. In the first, a 200-pound mannequin, simulating an injured lineman, was “rescued” from the top of a 40-foot pole. “This is one situation a lineman hopes he never encounters on the job,” Gent said, “but he must know how to perform a rescue safely and accurately.”

The pole climb event attracted crowds of onlookers who watched the linemen climb up and then down a pole — without breaking the raw egg they were carrying in their mouths. “You can get egg on your face, literally, in this event,” Gent said.

KUA received the first place trophy in the mystery event which involved overhead line construction.

KUA’s two teams consisted of the following employees: Jamie Boswell, Ben DeMoss, Aaron Haderle, Leo Hauser, Virgil Minshew, Paul Therriault, Bruce Thompson, and Joe Watson.

KUA is Florida‘s 7th largest municipally-owned utility serving 53,000 electric, water and Internet customers in four Central Florida counties. KUA celebrates its 100th year of serving the community in 2001.

Contact: Chris Gent, Manager of Communications
(407) 933-7777 ext. 1116
[email protected]