One local Duke Energy worker is bringing home international recognition from an electrifying event that tests the skills of linemen from across the world.
On Saturday, Oct. 19, Duke Energy lineman Mike Haynes attended the 30th Annual International Lineman’s Rodeo and Expo in Bonner Springs, Kan.
During the event, Haynes and his team of two other members earned third place overall for their skills in four different traditional lineman areas.
“Two of the events are known events,” said Haynes. “One of them is a hurt man rescue. The hurt man rescue is where a 185 pound mannequin simulates an injured worker hanging above the transformer. At the event you have to give an emergency signal on the radio, tool up, climb up and de-energize the transformer with an insulting stick, tie the employee off and lower him at a controlled rate to the ground so on-ground personnel can start CPR. Because the event is known, it can be practiced before the competition.”
There are also two mystery events which test a lineman’s knowledge of more technical subjects, which can be more of a challenge than the physical ones.
“The two mystery events are always technical events,” said Haynes. “Within the scene you have to come up with a strategy of what your team is going to do first and how you can get things done properly and efficiently.”
Before the competition, Haynes and other linemen got together and practiced for the known events, but that still didn’t ease his nerves about what was ahead.
“Words can’t describe the atmosphere before competition,” said Haynes. “I always have extreme butterflies and I am nervous. First of all, you want to represent your company well, then you want to make it through with no mistakes, and honestly it’s just an extremely nerve-wracking start at the beginning of the event.”
The event is held in one open field where hundreds of utility poles have been placed just for the competition.
“The site of that field and all those lines always amazes me,” said Haynes, who has been taking part in the International Lineman Competition since 2006. “Everyone competes at the same time and that just adds to the nerves you already have.”
When the final scores came in, Haynes and his team found out that they had missed first place by just a few seconds.
“When we found out that the other team had beat us time-wise by 27 seconds we started thinking of the things we could have done differently,” said Haynes. “I was still proud of winning third place, though. To know that you’ve placed third out of 219 teams is a pretty good feeling.”
For their win, each of Haynes team members received a plaque and the bragging rights of the prestigious honor. Haynes hopes to return to the competition next year and aim for first place.
“I would love to go back next year,” said Haynes. “The lineman profession is a brotherhood of lineman from across the world and the United States. This event helps us practice some of the traditional skills that many of us take pride in.”