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A different kind of March Madness

March 16, 2016   By Kevin F. Langston in Safety

Photo by Jim Huff/Santee Cooper

You might've heard about a pretty big tournament happening this week where competitors from all over will be looking to prove themselves on a massive stage before adoring fans and awed onlookers.

It's known as the Santee Cooper Lineworkers' Rodeo (What, not the tournament you were thinking of?), and it takes place this Saturday at Old Santee Canal Park in Moncks Corner. We enthusiastically invite the public to come watch line technicians representing Santee Cooper and seven of South Carolina's electric cooperatives as they compete in a course of events designed to test their skills in a fun and safe environment.

The 19th annual Santee Cooper Lineworkers' Rodeo begins at 8 a.m. with a unique flag-raising ceremony, and admission is free.

It's a generally agreed upon fact that electric lineworkers are the rock stars of our business, and bragging rights will surely be on the line Saturday. But the Santee Cooper Lineworkers' Rodeo builds crucial camaraderie among these professionals who spend so much of their time in demanding work conditions. The rodeo also strengthens their proficiency and ability in areas like safety and teamwork but also has become a popular event for families and friends of lineworkers.

The Santee Cooper Lineworkers' rodeo has two levels of competition: journeyman and apprentice. Journeyman teams consist of three members: two climbers and one ground person. Apprentices compete individually and must have less than four years of line experience.

Journeyman events include the hurtman rescue, cross-arm relay, and vertical phase transfer. Apprentice events include an obstacle course, the hurtman rescue, and a written test of safety questions (which is held on Friday, March 18). Visit our website for more information on all of the scheduled events.

The first Santee Cooper Lineworkers' Rodeo was held in 1998 to determine who would represent Santee Cooper at the International Lineman's Rodeo & Expo. In 2002, the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina were invited to join in the friendly competition.

Lineworkers from Berkeley Electric Cooperative, Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative, Coastal Electric Cooperative, Fairfield Electric Cooperative, Horry Electric Cooperative, Palmetto Electric Cooperative, and York Electric Cooperative are scheduled to participate this year.