Insights > Lineworkers showcase their skills at the 2024 rodeo

Lineworkers showcase their skills at the 2024 rodeo


A competition for apprentice and journeyman linemen, the Rodeo includes events that test the skills they use in the field when restoring power for customers.
A competition for apprentice and journeyman linemen, the Rodeo includes events that test the skills they use in the field when restoring power for customers.

Being a lineman is not easy. It’s not a job for the faint of heart. It requires both physical and mental dexterity and stamina. It’s hard work, especially during restoration efforts following a major storm, so being prepared and properly trained is essential. In addition to the rigorous training completed prior to being hired, linemen first serve as an apprentice.

After successful completion of their apprenticeship, they are named journeyman linemen. Even after reaching this milestone, they are required to complete training and professional development to maintain high performance levels.

One event that allows linemen to both show off and sharpen their skills is the lineman rodeo, a competition for apprentice and journeyman linemen that includes events that test the skills they use in the field when restoring power for customers.

Family and friends of linemen seldom get to see what they do every day up close, so they are invited to attend and watch the competition from a designated spectator area. The 2024 Entergy Mississippi Lineman Rodeo and Family Fun Day was held recently at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson, with more than 1,000 employees and family members in attendance.

The apprentice linemen compete as individuals, while the journeyman lineman compete in teams to demonstrate both their individual skills and their ability to work as a team.

Both journeyman and apprentice lineman compete in the Pole Climb event, which exhibits the lineman’s ability to climb a pole safely, smoothly and professionally. To demonstrate how safely and smoothly they are able to climb the pole, they must do it all without breaking an egg. Upon returning to the ground after climbing the pole, the competitors must show the judges that the egg they were carrying throughout the climb remains uncracked.

Both journeymen and apprentices also participate in the Hurt Man Rescue event, which uses a mannequin to simulate that a worker has been injured while changing out a faulty disconnect.

Other events include a Fuse Change-out event, in which an apprentice must change a fuse in a 100-amp cut out. In addition to timing how quickly the apprentice can accomplish a task, the judges are also making sure the competitors are wearing and using safety gear correctly and following all safety protocols.

The journeyman lineman teams compete in a Jumper Change-out event, in which they must replace both primary jumpers with equi-potential grounding. The event requires both climbers to work as a team to replace the existing jumpers across double crossarms. After grounding, the team performs the jumper change while maintaining the equi-potential zone. Once the jumpers are changed, climbers remove grounds and descend the pole.

Always recruiting the next generation of utility workers, children ages 4 to 13 attending were invited to don hard hats and compete in a Future Lineman relay, which was broken down by age into three categories. Children were able to complete the course as many times as they would like to try to beat their own time.

William Evans, an apprentice lineman in Jackson, won overall first place in the apprentice category, with Zach Noone of Clinton taking second place and Thomas Larkin of Natchez taking third place.

The Gloster team won overall first place in the journeyman category. Team members included Tyler Harvey, Zac White and Kelton Carr. The Grenada team, including John Ingram, Michael Bartlett, Aubrey Goss and Justin Hatcher, received second place overall. The DeSoto Service Center team, including Cliff Smith, Hunter Galney, Trevor Ricker and Perry Whitworth, and the McComb team, including Christopher Hunter, Taylor Magee and Logan Lee, tied for third place overall.

The winning apprentice and journeyman team will test their skills with the best of the best as they represent Entergy Mississippi at the 40th Annual International Lineman’s Rodeo, which will be held in Overland Park, Kansas, in October. With more than 300 teams and 450 apprentices competing, the event will include a safety conference and the opportunity to meet peers from around the world.

Caron Blanton
Senior Communications Specialist, Entergy Mississippi