In case it wasn’t already obvious that linemen tend to gravitate toward hard work in difficult conditions, they gather every year in the sweltering July heat of Central Texas to compete in the annual Texas Lineman’s Rodeo.
On an island in the middle of the Guadalupe River near Seguin, a field of poles marked the scene for a variety of challenges facing the 39 journeyman lineman teams and 131 apprentice competitors from electric co-ops and municipal electric providers around the state.
TVEC’s journeyman team, made up of Adam Wolking, Carlos Cruz and Zach Pollett, took 10th place overall, and apprentice Mauricio Robles ranked 12th in the hurt-man rescue event. Along with the competitors, veteran linemen Mack Brewer and Jay Cook participated as event judges.
“I’m really proud of these guys representing the company and doing this,” said Wolking, who coordinated the TVEC entry this year. “We put in a lot of time for the three weeks leading up to it, with time before and after work, and everyone did really well.”
The competition only lasts a day, but the time spent preparing may have the most benefit for the rodeo competitors.
“That helps you get ready for the summer,” Cruz said. “It is already hot when you start practicing, so you get conditioned. It helps you see what you can push through—mind over matter—when you push yourself and you can find the willpower to keep going when you get tired.”
Although most of what happens at the lineman rodeo is directly related to work skills, the barbecue cook-off may be just as competitive. Lance Robison and Joe Olivares represented TVEC with their smoker skills, bringing home second place with their chicken.
After five years of competing, Wolking said the recognition among peers and pride for a job well done makes the work worthwhile.
“When you get a name for yourself, there is definitely some pride in it—I want people to say ‘Hey, Trinity Valley has some good linemen,’” he said. “I hope the members are proud, too, that we have good people working for them, and we really want to go out and prove that.”
A video of TVEC’s lineman rodeo team in action can be found on the TVEC YouTube Channel.