Little Rock, Ark. — April 22, 2013 — The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas are hosting a Lineman’s Rodeo at Arkansas State University’s Newport campus on Saturday, April 27 beginning at 9 a.m. The public is invited to attend the event.

According to Doug Evans, safety and loss control manager for the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, the rodeo tests the skills and knowledge of linemen in areas including pole climbing and rescuing an injured lineman.

“A cooperative lineman sent to correct an outage must identify and correct the problem through wind, rain, ice or other weather conditions,” Evans said. “This requires technical and physical skills that include the ability to climb a pole, operate a bucket truck, maneuver equipment and communicate with other personnel to ensure power can be restored as quickly and safely as possible. This rodeo is a way to test those skills.”

Two of the events that will be included in the contest are the “hurt-man” rescue and the pole climb. In the rescue event, a 180-pound mannequin, simulating an injured lineman, is “rescued” from the top of a 40-foot pole. “This is a situation that a lineman never wants to encounter,” Evans said. “He must know how to safely rescue a fellow lineman.”

During the pole climb event linemen must climb up a pole while carrying an egg in a small bucket. Once at the top of the pole the contestant removes the egg from the bucket and puts it in his mouth. He then descends the pole. If the egg breaks, there is a score deduction. Although the linemen will make the task look easy, there’s nothing easy about climbing a 40-foot utility pole, he said.

“Competitors are able to fine tune their skills and want to score well in events, but they also adhere to safety practices,” Evans said. “In a real world situation, it’s their lives that are on the line and there’s no room for error.”

The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas comprise 17 electric distribution cooperatives; Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Inc. (AECI), a Little Rock-based cooperative that provides various services to the distribution cooperatives; and AECC, a generation and transmission cooperative. The distribution cooperatives provide electricity to more than 500,000 members, or customers, in Arkansas and surrounding states.

For additional information, contact:

Rob Roedel, Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, 501.570.2296 or