Look out Kansas.
Sixteen of DTE Energy’s finest are heading your way in October to compete in the International Lineman’s Rodeo, after qualifying with top performances in the 23rd Annual Michigan Lineman’s Rodeo.
The International and Michigan rodeos are annual skills competitions for journeyman and apprentice linemen. Linemen’s technical skills and safe work practices are showcased through a variety of challenges, such as a hurt-man rescue, pole climb and jumper change out. Journeyman linemen compete in three-person teams and apprentices compete as individuals.
“The linemen are judged on their speed, but also by the number of ‘gigs’ (or mistakes) they make,” said lineman Danny Salisbury. “You want to be quick, efficient and error free.”
Sixty-two linemen from DTE, Lansing Board of Power and Light, ITC and contract companies competed in the Michigan event, recently hosted by DTE at its Training and Development Center in Westland. The DTE team of Salisbury, Andrew Baron, and Andrew Rice took first place in the journeyman competition, with second place going to Josh Daniels, Mike Cole and Bob Hall. The journeymen team of Michael Toppi, Jason Hustek and Sal Mannino placed fifth and Willian Duncan, Brian Bova and Carl Simm came in eighth. DTE swept the top four spots in the apprentice competition. Andrew Butlin took first, Paul Vivian second, Brandon Bowman third, and Brandon Saunders, fourth. All will compete at the International event.
Although the linemen relish the good-natured competition with their peers, many will tell you that what they appreciate most about the Michigan Lineman’s Rodeo is having their families there. In addition to the contests, the event has many family-friendly activities, such as bucket truck rides and face painting.
“It’s a really nice day for the families,” said Baron. “We work a lot of hours and it lets the kids, especially the young ones, see what we do when we’re away from home.”