Three local PG&E linemen are heading to Kansas today for the 2017 International Lineman's Rodeo, a competition that highlights their skill and dedication to their trade.

Jordan Chene, Nick Smith and Tony Humbert have been working hard to prepare for the tough competition, but they are hardly newcomers.

In last year's competition, the trio won an award for their performance, and at this year’s West Coast Lineman’s Rodeo in Livermore in July, the crew finished in second place among all competing journeyman linemen.

In order to qualify for the competition, participants must be considered the best of the best.

"It's a big honor to qualify to even go to the International Rodeo," said Katie Allen, PG&E's marketing and communications director. "Your skills in these areas are some of the best in the country."

One of the events the linemen will compete in on Saturday is the rescue event, where a dummy hangs from the top of an electric pole to simulate an injured worker, and the linemen have to safely rescue the "worker."

In the event, Smith must climb to the top to rescue the dummy, while his partners, Chene and Humbert, call 9-1-1 and "isolate the energy line" that way Smith can complete the rescue without being electrocuted.

In another event, Smith will compete in the speed climb, which he has had a lot of practice with. In the Livermore competition, Smith had the fastest time in the event. He can strap on his tool belt, climb up a 40-foot electric pole and climb back down in just 20.8 seconds.

Smith said that time puts him in the top-10, or top 1 percent, of speed climbers competing this weekend.

In Saturday's speed climb, Smith must strap on his belt, which contains a raw egg in a bag, climb to the top of the pole, take the egg out of the bag, place it in his mouth and climb down as fast as he can without cracking the egg.

The team will also compete in two mystery events, but Smith said he feels his team is prepared no matter what the competition throws at them.

"I feel like we are more prepared than last year," said Smith. "We've been putting (in) the work after work."

In order to prepare for the big day, the trio has competed in six rodeos this year.

Smith said the most important thing is to showcase the skills a lineman has on a daily basis.

"I think (the competition) shows how good of a utility PG&E is when you put them against the best," Smith said. "It goes to show we have some of the best linemen."

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.