I went to my first lineman rodeo in 2008.
As a young buck apprentice, my hubby was primed and ready to compete. If you don’t know what a lineman rodeo is, it has nothing to do with bucking broncos or bull riding. There are ropes involved, but it’s in the form of a handline. No clowns, but there are some dummies used in competition.
First thing you’ll notice at a lineman rodeo is a lot of power poles—that’s where the competitions happen. In one competition, the Hurt Man Rescue, two linemen have to climb a pole and rescue a lifeless (and thankfully, in this case, fake) brother from the pole top. Other competitions include closing in a cutout (I know this is above your paygrade and nearly above mine, but I am after all a linewife and must know this lingo by now!), fixing a transformer and my personal favorite, getting up the pole as fast as one can—with a raw egg in your mouth. I’m not sure they still do the raw egg, but it’s something Spank had to do in the rodeo he competed in 14 years ago in Washington. He shot up the pole without egg all over his face, needless to say.
This weekend I’m going back to my first rodeo since my hubby competed all that while ago, and I can’t wait! Sure, I won’t be cheering on my man (this time, he’s there to support me!) but it’s an impressive spectacle to see whether you know someone involved or not. I mean, the guys can literally RUN up the pole barely touching the tips of their gaffs—that’s the hook thing that digs into the pole and is attached to their leg by a shank—to the wood of the pole. They don’t call ‘em pole monkeys for no reason.
All this to say once again that these guys deserve some respect and kudos, so if you’re in the Livermore, Calif. area this weekend, come check out the PG&E/IBEW West Coast Lineman’s Rodeo AND stop by the Tiny Tradesmen booth while you’re there! I’ll be there with my first book in the Tiny Tradesmen children’s series, “Light Up the World: When I Grow Up, I Want to Be a Lineman.” If you already have a copy, feel free to bring it and I’m happy to sign the book!
For those who can't make it to the rodeo, I'm running a special all day Saturday for free shipping on "Light Up the World." Use promo code: RODEO. Thank you for your support!