By Sam CampbellNovember 14, 2019
Fort Leonard Wood's U.S. Army Prime Power School conducted its cyclical Lineman's Rodeo Nov. 12, where eight students in the Power Line Distribution Course climbed 40-foot utility poles in a final graded event.
The PLDC is completed about four times per year.
Ahead of their graduation from the course Nov. 15, Soldiers completed four tasks at the rodeo: the hurt man rescue, fuse removal by extendable arm, replacing a suspension insulator and the speed climb -- colloquially known as the "egg climb."
The hurt man rescue test required linemen to rescue a dummy at the top of a utility pole in under four minutes.
"The speed climb event begins with the students climbing to the top of a 40-foot utility pole with a bag that contains an uncooked egg in their mouth," said Sgt. 1st Class Richard Ross, USAPPS senior instructor.
When they reach the top, they put the egg in their mouth and must climb down as fast as possible without cracking it.
Ross said every lineman's rodeo around the world features the protein-rich breakfast food.
"It's one of those linemen traditions," he said. "What it really displays is (one's) ability to climb smoothly and efficiently and quickly."
He said that despite its humorous appearance, the event is difficult to complete flawlessly.
"A lot of the (students), this is the first time they put an egg in their mouth," he joked. "We had our first one that got a mouth full of egg earlier this morning. He broke all the way through and it got pretty messy."
Sgt. William Maddox, PLDC student, said the chilly weather presented unique complications.
"Class IIs usually aren't too big of an issue. They are thick, rubber gloves that we have to wear to protect from energized lines," he said. "In cold weather, they get really stiff and your hands go numb really fast, and having to work with a frozen rope on top of that, trying to tie off your victim securely -- that's challenging."
Ross said only about 15 percent of USAPPS students get the opportunity to go through the lineman's course.
Maddox will be heading to Fort Belvoir, Virginia, after graduation. He said he felt great about completing the 10-week PDLC.
"(It's) really rewarding training," he said.