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Welcome Back To Kansas City

Transmission & Distribution World, 8/1/2005

Every year, hundreds of linemen from around the world line up at the International Lineman's Rodeo to prove they are the best in the business. This year's competition will heat up with more than 230 teams and 250 apprentices expected to participate.

The rodeo is only one of the main attractions of the 22 [superscript]nd Annual International Lineman's Rodeo and Expo, which will be held Sept. 15-17, 2005. The expo will draw large crowds of its own as exhibitors showcase the latest products and services in the industry. The expo will take place September 15-16 at the Overland Park Convention Center in Overland Park, Kansas, U.S., a suburb of Kansas City. The rodeo will be held September 17 at the National Agriculture Center and Hall of Fame in Bonner Springs, Kansas. Kansas City Power & Light and Westar Energy are sponsoring the three-day show this year.

Competing in the Rodeo

Eight rodeo events based on traditional lineman tasks are scheduled to take place. These events will demonstrate the necessary safety, skill and education required of linemen to do their jobs. Anyone who is or has ever been a qualified practicing, working lineman is eligible to compete in the rodeo.

Teams will compete in the hurtman rescue, pole climb and two mystery events. Each team consists of three members: a ground man and two linemen. Both linemen must be qualified journeyman linemen. The ground man is a nonclimbing member of the team. However, if one of the linemen drops out of the competition, the ground man will be allowed to climb as long as he is a qualified journeyman lineman. The team would then need an alternate ground man.

Apprentices will compete against one another in the hurtman rescue, pole climb, a mystery event and the apprentice written test. Apprentices are defined as those who have been in an apprenticeship for less than four years. After four years of apprentice work, in order to compete, an apprentice must qualify as a journeyman by providing a written statement from his employer that he has completed training and is performing journeyman duties while awaiting a journeyman position to become available.

If a journeyman switches companies and is an apprentice at the next company, he may not compete in apprentice events. If an apprentice makes journeyman before Aug. 1, 2005, he may not enter the rodeo as an apprentice. However, if he makes journeyman after Aug. 1, 2005, he is still eligible to compete as an apprentice. If an apprentice is competing on a team, he cannot compete in the apprentice events.

Rodeo entry forms and fees are due by Aug. 12, 2005, although team members don't have to be named by then. Names of participants can be added or changed up to September 9; after this date any changes will need to be handled on-site at registration.

Judging the Competition

Teams and apprentices will be broken up into different divisions. The divisions for teams are: investor-owned utilities; EMC, REA, REC; municipals; contractors; seniors; and military. The divisions are the same for apprentices except there is no senior division.

Team and apprentice events will be judged for safety, work practices, neatness and ability, equipment handling and timely completion of the event. The competition will be judged by operating utility supervisors and past participants. Companies are asked to volunteer one judge for every three participants.

Fun for Everyone

There's plenty for everyone to see and do at this year's rodeo and expo. Those with a creative flair can show off their talent in the annual T-shirt/hat design contest. To enter, turn in your shirt or hat at the registration desk at the expo. Keep in mind that submissions will not be returned.

Catch up with old friends and make some new ones at the annual barbecue and trade night on Friday, September 10. The barbecue will be held at 6 p.m. at Black & Veatch, which is within walking distance from the convention center and convention center hotels. Barbecue tickets purchased by August 12 cost $20 for each adult and $7.50 for each child under 12. After that date, tickets may be purchased on-site for $25 and $10, respectively.

Following the rodeo on Saturday, September 17, the awards banquet will be held at 7 p.m. at the Overland Park Convention Center. Awards will be presented for the top overall winners of each division, as well as the 1 [superscript]st , 2 [superscript]nd , 3 [superscript]rd , 4 [superscript]th and 5 [superscript]th place winners for each event. Contestants and judges will receive free admission to the banquet.