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OPPD has strong showing at KC lineman rodeo

October 21, 2019 | Laura King-Homan | OPPD employees, T&D
KC lineman rodeo

OPPD made a strong showing at the 36th annual International Lineman’s Rodeo.

The event, held in the Kansas City metro area, consists of four skill events and a written test for apprentices. A total of 321 apprentices and 248 three-man journeyman teams competed for 1,065 contestants overall. OPPD sent two journeyman teams, three apprentices, three event judges, one event coordinator and one chief judge.

Apprentice line technician Ted Gyhra captured first place in two separate events – the speed climb and the hurt man rescue.

The speed climb is just that, a fast climb up a power pole. It involves the lineworker carrying a small canvas bag containing an egg up the pole. They must then swap the bag with one placed at the top, put the egg in their mouth and come back down the pole without breaking it. Ghyra’s time was 15.69 seconds. His closest competitor was more than four seconds behind that time.

Below is a video of Ghyra’s climb.

The hurt man rescue event simulates the rescue of an injured worker. The climber climbs the pole, attaches a rope to the injured worker (represented by a dummy), cuts the dummy free and lowers it to the ground.

Tough competition

Lee O’Neal, director of T&D Construction at OPPD, said he believes this is the first time OPPD has had a first-place finish in this event.

“I am extremely proud of the showing that the OPPD teams had,” he said. “The effort and skill that all of the OPPD contestants displayed were outstanding and a real testament to the quality of the linemen we have at OPPD.”

He added that the competition is very tough. Winning one event is incredible, but to win two is a real achievement.

“Ted has worked very hard for this and I could not be happier for him.”

OPPD construction inspector Gary Martin, a former lineman, has been involved in the international event for 20 years. He will soon be promoted from Chief Judge to Master Judge, and dedicates a lot of time and effort to the event, O’Neal said.

Participants in the OPPD teams included:

Journeyman team 1: Tony Liston, Pat Wagoner, Brent Sass

Journeyman team 2: Jake Lang, Aaron Mercer, Aaron Chessareck

Apprentices: Ted Gyhra, Cody Thompson, Cody Shanno

Event judges: Aaron Prohaska, Chad Metschke, Mike Novotny

Event coordinator: Rick Baxter

Chief Judge: Gary Martin

Photo gallery of the event

Photos by Lee O’Neal

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About Laura King-Homan

Laura King-Homan is the supervisor, Brand and Communication Operations, at Omaha Public Power District. She has nearly 20 years of print journalism and design experience, including the Omaha World-Herald.

View all posts by Laura King-Homan >

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