As a DJ spun his tunes and children played fair games under a big white tent, dozens of linemen, tree trimmers and apprentices from around the region competed in the Lineman’s Rodeo and Tree Trim Jamboree. These are the men and women who work long hours in all sorts of weather conditions to help provide safe and reliable power to customers year-round.

Aug. 4 marked the 25th anniversary of the Lineman’s Rodeo, hosted by DTE Energy at its Training and Development Center in Westland. For the first time, the Tree Trim Jamboree was held simultaneously, allowing attendees the chance to see both groups in action together.

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 Tree Trim Jamboree provides a competitive learning environment and showcases best practices and new techniques for safe climbing and tree care. They are scored on activities including aerial rescue, work climb, ascent, belayed speed climb and throw line.

The top three tree trim apprentices and top three tree trim journeymen will advance to the Michigan Tree Trim Championship and Arbor Fair, which is being held in Traverse City in September. They include Journeymen Ramsey Tyler, Duke Carlos and Jacob Forella and apprentices Nick Bennick, Eric Beyer and Zach Wheeler.

From the Lineman’s Rodeo, the top five Journeyman teams and five apprentices are heading to the international competition in Kansas City later this year. They include: Team #6, Nathan Wheeler, Jonathan Schlessman, Jaren Howell;

Team #4, Michael Toppi, Salvato Mannino, Jason Hustek;

Team #3, Josh Daniels, Alex Hensen, Michael Cole;

Team #1, Brian Zomerfeld, Christopher Masterson, Kevin Kavanagh;

Team #19, Deven Heimke, Tom Swayne, Keith Wilder; and apprentices Paul Vivian, Mathew Ruggles, Gran Kleweno, Andrew Butlin, and Billy Cruse.

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