CoServ’s Senior Journeyman Team takes home trophy at Texas Lineman’s Rodeo
The hot July sun beat down on Nolte Island as CoServ’s Senior Journeyman Team prepared for their final and most difficult event of the Texas Lineman’s Rodeo in Seguin.
Luke Hawkins, Alex Garza and Chris Hammonds had already competed in the Egg Race, the Hurt Man Rescue and the Obstacle Pole. The team of seasoned veterans would need to summon all their strength and will to conquer the Transformer Changeout.
This event, which simulates changing out a bad transformer on a pole, requires precision teamwork from two linemen on the pole and a third on the ground. They rely on each other entirely, including hoisting the transformer up the pole.
Months of practice culminated in completing the event and placing third overall in the Senior Journeyman Team category. It’s a major accomplishment for these 45 and up supervisors who typically leave the pole climbing to the younger crews. For Alex, it’s the first time he’s competed in a rodeo in his 20-plus years in the industry.
“That was great because this is a team event and to raise the transformer to the top, all three of us must work together,” Alex said. “That was a task for sure. I felt really good about how we got our transformer up. I loved it. It’s not something I do every day now. Getting back and doing it all day, it felt good. I may be hurting tomorrow but as of right now it was great.”
He said he’ll never forget the feeling of hearing their name called and being presented with their trophy, all while their colleagues and family cheered.
“It was awesome. This was CoServ’s first Journeyman Senior Team and I wanted to make a showing and we did,” Alex said. “I was nervous about it. All the practices, going home sore, it just paid off for us walking the stage.”
Because this was his first rodeo, Alex said he asked others for advice on what to expect and little things his team could improve on before the competition.
“I believe that helped us out tremendously,” Alex said. “We are the senior team, but a few of those guys have the experience of competing there and it definitely helped us.”
The Texas Lineman’s Rodeo isn’t just about strength and who can climb a pole the fastest – there’s also a written test that measures a lineman’s knowledge. CoServ Apprentice Lineman Josh Roberts received the second highest score on the written test and took home a trophy of his own.
Lineman Noah Hendricks, who competed along with Josh on the Apprentice Team, said the rodeo simulates the work they do every day, though typically they use bucket trucks rather than climbing a pole.
“During a night outage, we want to do them right in the safest way possible and come home every night,” Noah said. “But it’s fun to come out here and actually compete and see how fast we can do these tasks.”
Finally, you can’t have the Texas Lineman’s Rodeo without a barbecue competition. CoServ’s Barbecue Team of Jeff Richardson and Cramer Basham stayed up all night smoking chicken, ribs and brisket for the competition.
They tried different methods and seasonings this year, including a secret injection and brine mixture for the chicken. While they didn’t take home any awards, the true winners were the linemen, their families and others who enjoyed eating the barbecue after a tough day of competing.
“I just used my own recipe,” Jeff said. “After tasting that, it’s amazing. Totally different.”
Watch the CoServ Linemen Rodeo Team