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Victory Electric Linemen Making History at the International Lineman’s Rodeo

“From the wickedest town in the West, the baddest linemen are put to the test!”  

Dodge City, once known as the ‘wickedest town in the West,’ is putting two of its very own to the test. Later this week, Victory Electric linemen Marlon Hernandez and Felix Strauss will compete in the 34th Annual International Lineman’s Rodeo. Many employees strive to prove their skills are better than or comparable to their peers through award ceremonies, certifications, or public recognition.  For electric linemen, it’s called a rodeo. There is no bronc or bull riding and ropes are still used, but not for lassoing livestock.

The International Lineman’s Rodeo will be held on Saturday, October 14, 2017, in Bonner Springs, Kan. The rodeo is designed to recognize journeyman and apprentice linemen from the U.S. and abroad who are the best in their field.

Hernandez and Strauss are making history. They are the first linemen from Victory Electric to participate in the International Lineman’s Rodeo. As apprentice lineman, Hernandez and Strauss have fewer than four years of utility experience. Apprentices compete in separate classes than journeyman linemen, who are classified as having more than four years of utility experience. Seasoned journeyman lineman veteran and Victory Electric crew chief, Joel Daniels, is also attending in a judging capacity.

“As linemen, our job is to ‘keep the lights on,'” said Strauss. “This is a great opportunity for us personally, but the competition is also a great opportunity for our families and the public to see what linemen face on a daily basis. Not every day do you get a chance to compete with the best of the best, so why not take advantage of it?”

Hernandez, a native of Dodge City, lives by his personal motto ¡Ponte Las Pilas! “The literal translation is ‘put your batteries on,’ which you say to keep yourself or someone else from being lazy, slow, tired or not focused,” he said. “I always want do my best, and this competition motivates me to keep going and be the best.”

The International Lineman’s Rodeo attracts the best linemen from around the world to compete in events based on traditional lineman tasks and skills. The international rodeo consists of several events during which contestants are scored on following safety protocols and proper procedures and are timed on how efficiently they perform those tasks. In the hurtman rescue event, for instance, a dummy (simulating an injured line worker) hangs from atop a 40-foot pole and linemen are judged on how safely and quickly they secure the dummy and pulley it to the ground.

“Linemen provide a critical service to our communities, and we are proud of the highly trained workforce at Victory Electric,” said Shane Laws, Victory Electric CEO. “We have some of the best linemen, and the International Lineman’s Rodeo allows them the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and showcase their pride of the lineman’s trade.” 

The lineman duo have been working with Victory Electric’s manager of safety, Mikey Goddard, to practice for the event.

“At a recent practices, Marlon and Felix have been working hard at reviewing their safety measures before running various drills. I could not be more proud. It takes a lot of guts and determination to put your skills to the test on such a grand platform,” Goddard said.

Hernandez and Strauss are already in Bonner Springs attending safety training and pre-conferences leading up to the completion on Saturday. Victory Electric asks our members and our community to join us in wishing Marlon and Felix the best of luck at the 2017 International Lineman’s Rodeo. To follow Marlon and Felix’s journey at the rodeo, visit Victory Electric’s Facebook page at facebook.com/VictoryElectric. 

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