The first time Steve Lekvold, 57, a Southern California Edison lineman, was called to the podium to accept an award at the International Lineman’s Rodeo in Kansas, he missed the ceremony because he was resting back at his hotel.
Twenty three years later, Lekvold and his teammates — Bryan Lee, 53, and Oscar Perez, 54 — made sure they were at the ceremony to stand atop the podium to accept the Overall Journeyman Award in the Senior Division.
“It took a lot of years to get back on this stage,” he said. “There’s nothing like being in front of 2,000 people. We are very proud. It makes us hungry so we can do better.”
The International Lineman’s Rodeo began in Kansas in 1984 with 12 competing teams. This year, there were 238 journeyman teams competing and 313 apprentices.
SCE had 11 teams and eight apprentices at this year’s rodeo, competing in events like the Hurtman Rescue, Pole Climb and two mystery events. In total, the SCE teams made it to the podium seven times.
In addition to the Senior Division, SCE journeyman teams also placed second and third in the Hurtman Rescue. The journeyman team of Ryan Araujo, George Murillo and Eric Brusseau placed fifth overall. In the Journeyman – Investor-Owned Utilities Division, the SCE team of Ryan Araujo, George Murillo and Eric Brusseau finished third.
Three of the journeyman teams also completed their events “clean,” meaning they had no deductions.
“The rodeo committee would like to say, ‘thank you,’ for all of the support our teams and apprentices received this weekend,” said Gary Shockley, SCE principal manager, Distribution Business Line, North Coast Region. “SCE had a safe and successful event. Congratulations to all of our competitors.”
SCE Results From International Lineman’s Rodeo
First place: Steve Lekvold, Menifee Distribution; Bryan Lee, Menifee Distribution; Oscar Perez, Menifee Distribution
Journeyman Hurtman Rescue
Second place: Ryan Araujo, Mesa sector, Grid Ops; George Murillo, Covina Distribution; Eric Brusseau Covina Distribution
Third place: Ramon Garcia, Covina Distribution; Jacob Lybbert, Covina Distribution; Wil Robinson, Foothill Distribution
Fifth place: Henry Calero-Garay, Montebello Distribution; Ralph Gomez, Montebello Distribution; Bryan Casas, Montebello Distribution
Journeyman Mystery #1 – PLP Shunts:
Fourth place: Ryan Araujo, George Murillo and Eric Brusseau
Journeyman – Investor-Owned Utilities Division:
Third place: Ryan Araujo, George Murillo and Eric Brusseau
Journeyman - Rodeo Overall
Fifth place: Ryan Araujo, George Murillo and Eric Brusseau