BUTTE — The competition is high, we’re talking more than 50 feet high in the air at the first lineman rodeo competition at Highlands College in Butte.
“There’s competitive spirit here among these young men and they all are doing a great job. It’s kind of an opportunity for them to showcase what they’ve learned and what they’ve been taught,” says Highlands College Instructor Brandon Cassidy.
The students competed in activities that include a speed climb, an arm beam change, a bell change, and a hurt-man rescue.
“Hurt man rescue is the one that’s most important, obviously, that hits home with linemen, you have to be able to rescue your buddy if your buddy’s in trouble,” says Cassidy.
Not only do the linemen learn technical skills, but they also learn physical skills.
“It is a highly skilled trade, it’s rigorous, you can definitely see there’s a lot of coordination, strength, agility in everything we do,” says Cassidy.
Student Luke Harding says, “I’m loving it, we’re having fun, we’re having a great time out here. Pretty good, having a great turnout, everyone’s having fun, staying warm, hopefully.”
The students are competing in some frigid conditions of 23 degrees, which actually feels like 18 degrees at the time. The students are up high with the wind and snow swirling around them.
“Yeah, it’s a little cold, but when you’re moving and working it don’t bother you too much. A lot of physical labor and you’ve got to be smart about it too,” said student Wyatt Lackner.
The college hopes to make this an annual event.