By Mrs. Martha Yoshida (Leonard Wood)March 12, 2015
Power Line Distribution Specialist Course Soldiers conducted the first Lineman's Rodeo at Fort Leonard Wood's U.S. Army Prime Power School Training Yard March 3.
The rodeo took place just two days before the school's first class graduated from the eight-week PLDC course, which prepares Soldiers to work on medium voltage power production and distribution systems.
"The rodeo is a culminating event for the class to demonstrate their ability to perform power-distribution tasks effectively and safely to support their unit's missions," said Sgt. 1st Class Aaron Sanders, course senior small group leader.
Sanders explained that, while this event is a first for Fort Leonard Wood, Lineman's Rodeos are nothing new -- they are held throughout the U.S. and the utility industry.
"The rodeo is a comprehensive practical exercise for students to showcase what they have learned in the course, while promoting friendly competition," he said.
Events included pole climbing, a task to replace a blown fuse on a de-energized and grounded power line, a simulated emergency rescue of an injured lineman and a task to replace a hot-line clamp on an outside simulated energized power distribution line.
Each event was timed and graded individually based on the Soldiers' ability to get their equipment on, climb a 40-foot pole, accomplish the mission without incident and get back down.
Instructors added challenges to each event, such as having Soldiers complete the 40-foot pole climb while transporting an egg.
A cracked egg resulted in a 10-point deduction for that event.
"I was cautious with my climbing technique to make sure I didn't crack the egg," said Sgt. Samuel Worth, 249th Engineer Battalion. "The pole climb was easier than I thought. Proper climbing technique was the key to completing this event successfully."
Soldiers worked meticulously to hold onto points by not dropping tools, materials or hard hats from the pole, by wearing the appropriate safety gear, by giving appropriate verbal warnings, and by properly using fall restraints.
Following each event, trained evaluators from the Prime Power School provided students with feedback.
Students were allowed to disagree with a judge's evaluation; however, if the student contested and was found wrong, they lost 10 points if the judge's call was not overturned.
The students said that replacing a hot-line clamp was the most challenging, because of the amount of tasks that had to be completed within the time limit.
Soldiers with the 249th Engr. Bn. who competed in the rodeo included: Staff Sgt. Robert Pepperling, Sgt. Angel Morales, Worth, Sgt. William Monroe, Sgt. Travis Polak, Sgt. John Neary, Sgt. Jacob Pease and Sgt. James Barnard.
Monroe took top honors in the event with a score of 396 out of a possible 400 points and was recognized during the PLDC-U4 graduation ceremony held March 5 at the Prime Power School.
"The Lineman's Rodeo was a great experience," Sanders said. "It provided realistic training and was based on tasks that will be performed in the field."
The PLDC Lineman's Rodeo also prepares Soldiers to represent the 249th Engr. Bn. in the military division of the International Lineman's Rodeo, which is held annually in Bonner Springs, Kansas, he added.