Rising to the challenge: LP&L linemen showcased their on-the-job skills at Texas Lineman’s Rodeo
On Saturday, July 21, Lubbock Power & Light journeyman and apprentice teams competed in the 22nd Annual Texas Lineman’s Rodeo in Seguin. This was LP&L’s third year competing in this rigorous competition, which hosts the best teams across the entire state.
The LP&L team included:
• Anthony Reynolds, foreman and team coach; eight years at LP&L
• Alfonso Grado, apprentice; two years at LP&L
• Briton Garza, apprentice; eight years at LP&L
• Chase Jackson, apprentice; two years at LP&L
• Dayln Dalton, apprentice; four years at LP&L
• Dustin Thielen, journeyman; four years at LP&L
• Eric Garza, foreman; six years at LP&L
• Jorge Romo, journeyman; four years at LP&L
• Paden Kinney, journeyman; three months at LP&L
Each year, LP&L linemen rise to the challenge, and this year was no different. The journeyman team consisting of Thielen, Garza and Romo placed first in the team pole climb event.
Thielen placed second in the individual pole climb event, while Dalton placed 8th out of 114 competitors. To add to the list of accolades, LP&L apprentices set a team record for high scores for the written portion of the competition, which is one of the most challenging events of the weekend.
LP&L linemen work in all types of weather, performing a variety of duties from daily maintenance to building and repairing power lines. On top of their regular duties, they also respond to outages 24 hours a day, seven days a week to get the lights back on for customers as quickly and safely as possible.
Before the competition, we had a chance to sit down and interview some of the team members.
Why did you decide to become a lineman?
Jackson: I used to work in the tree department and got to meet a lot of the linemen. From there, I realized I wanted to do more hands-on work and liked the risk associated with this job.
Kinney: I used to travel a lot for my previous role and now, as a lineman, it’s more stable and I get to be home more often.
What went into preparing for this competition? How does that help with your day-to-day at work?
Reynolds: It takes a lot of hard work and many hours of bonding to prepare for this competition. You have to have a special type of workmanship with your other teammate when you’re up on the pole.
Grado: We practiced climbing a lot of poles, which helps us be more proficient climbers and work more efficiently.
Thielen: It takes a lot of practice and climbing, which teaches us basic things we need to know to sharpen our skills.
What is your favorite thing about working for LP&L?
Garza: We’re all family. We all hang out after work and are pretty close.
Romo: We’re all like brothers here, watching and caring for each other every day.
Kinney: Everybody at work is so nice, and I appreciate the camaraderie. Everyone took me in really well when I first started working here not too long ago.
What is one thing you wish people knew about you and/or your job as a lineman?
Dalton: What we do isn’t easy. It’s a dangerous job and we work really hard.
Garza: When the lights go out in the storm, just know we’re doing our best. While the lightning is crackling around us, we’re working as quickly as possible to get the lights back on.
The Texas Lineman's Rodeo Association, Inc. (TLRA) is a non-profit organization created to offer lineworkers in Texas a way to showcase their pride in the profession of high voltage linework. The TLRA is composed of volunteers devoted to the promotion of charitable, educational and electrical safety activities, including, but not limited to, the continued education of lineworkers, the encouragement of cost-reducing efficiency and proficiency methods in the work environment, building relationships of trust and teaching teamwork techniques, sharing of ideas to bring innovation to the industry and networking that will foster better working relationships between utilities.
To learn more about the Texas Lineman’s Rodeo and see additional Rodeo results, visit www.tlra.org.