They don’t buck, but they are plenty tall. And during the heat of a lineman’s rodeo, an electrical-line mechanic has to stick to a power pole like a cowboy to a bull.
“It is all about positioning, and making your steps count,” said Travis Faunce, a fourth-year electrical-line apprentice with Glendale Water & Power.
The Olympics of the utilities world, the lineman’s rodeo sees electrical workers competing at regional, national and international competitions. Events include a timed pole climb, the hurt-man rescue and a written apprentice test. The workers scale the poles wearing gaffs, ankle braces fitted with metal spikes that they dig into the wood in order to peg their way up.
At stake are oversized trophies and — perhaps more importantly — bragging rights.
“It is competitive,” said Pat Riley, an electrical superintendent for Glendale Water & Power. “There is a lot of pride in bringing home one of those trophies.”