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Linemen prep for the International Lineman's Rodeo

WICHITA, Kansas -- It's a rodeo - without horses, bulls or clowns.

It's a lineman rodeo.
 
Westar Energy is putting its best journeymen and apprentices up against some tough global competition next week.
 
Today they practiced what these linemen and apprentices do every day.
 
"We were just practicing getting up and down," laughs one lineman.
 
With some extra competition thrown in.
 
"They put their lives on the line every day to keep the lights on for people so it's a good time to get out and showcase their talent and their skills," says Rich Goehring, the manager of field safety and training at Westar.
 
They're practicing for the International Lineman's Rodeo that takes place this weekend in Bonner Springs, Kansas.
 
"My regular job probably helps us do this, it's stuff we do everyday," says lineman Luke Adkins.
 
They compete in teams of three, 2 climbers and a ground man.  
 
Their tasks include a series of events -- a hurt man rescue and a speed climb.
 
"Climb a pole as fast as you can  drop the bag, put the egg in your mouth and climb back down.  And don't break the egg," describes another lineman.
 
Two more events are kept a mystery.
 
"You won't know till the day before what the event is which keeps the playing field real even."
 
They say the competition is tough.
 
"I think in years past, first place through 5th place might only be 3 or 4 seconds difference. Typically there will be 250 / 300 teams from all over the - really the world," says lineman Nick Krueger.
 
Teams are judged first on safety, second on speed. 
 
Mistakes cost points.
 
"A good score is not breaking the egg," says Krueger.
 
It's what these teams come home with after the rodeo that may be most valuable - having learned from their competition.
 
Krueger explains, "It's an honor to work someplace where I work with guys good enough in the trade to be able to go to the rodeo and compete."
 
The 30th annual International Lineman Rodeo is Saturday.
 
More than 200 teams will compete.
 

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