By LUCAS STROUGH
A rodeo took place on Friday but most of the action occurred 40 feet above the ground.
The Kilgore College Electric Power Technology fall class of 2018 held a Lineman Rodeo at the KCEPT Training Field Friday morning. Twenty students participated in the rodeo, which marks the final test of their skills before a graduation ceremony.
“These guys don't receive any prize money,” said Robert Bryson, KCEPT lead instructor. “They're out here, every one of them, competing for a job.”
The graduates made up the twenty-first class to complete the 10-week program at KC. Bryson explained the program was created when he noticed many linemen were getting old, creating a need to train new workers. He teamed up with KC to create the program and the new field was dedicated earlier this year at a spring graduation ceremony on May 10.
“These guys, it's like a combine, they're here to show off their skills,” said Robert Horn, workforce development specialist for the KCEPT program. “They're competing for jobs and I have to say I have had the privilege of working with these guys and I'm proud of each and every one of them.”
Friends and families of the graduating students gathered around to watch the competition play out on a series of utility poles erected for linemen to practice the skills of their trade.
The competition events included a hurt man rescue, in which the students helped bring a dummy safely to the ground from atop a pole, an insulator change and a personal line grounding.
Students competed these tasks under the watch of their classmates and professional linemen, who judged and scored their efforts.
Following the event, a graduation ceremony was held at the Henderson ISD Administration Building at 4 p.m. for diplomas to be bestowed on the graduates and for special awards to be presented.