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OPPD lineworkers bring home hardware from statewide rodeo

August 27, 2019 | Laura King-Homan | OPPD employees, T&D
lineworker rodeo, OPPD award winners

Lineworkers from across the state braved soggy conditions and muddy puddles to compete in the Nebraska Lineworker Rodeo. The event was held Aug. 24 in conjunction with the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island, Neb.

OPPD had several teams competing in the event, including both journeymen and apprentices. Although weather conditions were less than ideal, the utility brought home some hardware.

Heavy rain and wet conditions made for some moisture-soaked fields where competition was held. But those conditions are not unfamiliar to lineworkers, who often work in less-than-ideal weather.

Good showing

OPPD line techs placed first in three events and took the three top spots in the guy-wire installation competition. They won a total of seven awards at the event.

“I was very impressed with the focus and intensity that each participant put into the events,” said Lee O’Neal, director of T&D Construction at OPPD, who also attended the event. “It clearly demonstrated the level of skill and ability that all team members bring to OPPD each and every day.”

During the rodeo, journeymen compete as a two-man team. They perform four different tasks that mimic real-world field conditions. Judging is based on speed and accuracy. Apprentices also compete in four different field activities. They also take a written test and are judged on speed and accuracy.


OPPD journeymen who competed were: Tony Liston and Pat Wagoner, Scott Bellows and Erik Roxburgh. OPPD apprentices who competed were: Ted Gyhra, Ben Kuh, Cody Shanno, Cody Thompson and Mike Novotny. Senior journeyman line technician Aaron Prohaska was an event judge.

Award winners were:

  • Speed climb: Ted Gyhra (first); Cody Thompson (second). For this event, lineworkers climb a pole, spin 360 degrees around the top and climb back down without cracking the egg they are carrying in their mouth.
  • Guy wire installation: Ted Gyhra (first); Mike Novotny (second); Cody Thompson (third)
  • Hurtman rescue: Ted Gyhra (first)
  • Double arm brace changeout: Cody Thompson (first)
  • Another big winner was Cody Shanno, who proposed to his girlfriend, Whitney Morgan, at the event. She accepted.

Personnel from OPPD have previously competed in the National Lineworker Rodeo in Kansas City. The Grand Island event was sponsored by Nebraska Power Association, a voluntary organization of the state’s 166 public power utilities and rural cooperatives.

Below are some pictures from the event.

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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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