VIDEO CREDIT: Ernesto Sanchez and Joe Foulk
CHINO, Calif. — It’s October and time for a repeat.
We’re not talking baseball, but the 34th annual International Lineman’s Rodeo in Kansas where more than 400 linemen and apprentice teams from around the world come to compete and showcase their skills.
And the team of Ramon Garcia, Jacob Lybbert and Wil Robinson — Southern California Edison journeymen — will compete this Saturday to defend their first-place finish last year in both the Journeyman Team Overall IOU Division and the Journeyman Team Overall category.
“We want to be the first overall team to repeat,” said Lybbert, a lineman out of the Covina District, who has worked for SCE for 14 years.
At a recent practice for the competition, the trio went through their safety measures before running various drills. The rodeo will have the usual Hurtman Rescue and Pole Climb events, but there will also be two mystery events.
“Our job is to adapt,” said Robinson, a Foothill District lineman with SCE for 22 years. “We have no idea about some of the trials at the rodeo so we are guessing and trying to prepare.”
In January, Robinson tore a tendon in his right shoulder and underwent surgery. He was out for several months, so finding the time to practice with the team has been tough leading up to the international event.
“I feel good. I’m not a 100 percent, but I’m ready to run,” he said.
“This is our second practice,” said Garcia, an SCE lineman for 21 years from the Covina District. “These guys are bright, so we should be OK.”
“Our goal is to repeat,” he added, noting the trio have competed together the past five international rodeos. “But we are doing this for the fun and thrill of it.”
The first International Lineman’s Rodeo took place in September 1984 with only 12 teams competing. This year, the rodeo will have more than 200 teams and 250 apprentices.
“Linemen provide a critical service to our communities and we are proud of the highly trained workforce at SCE,” said Gary Shockley, SCE principal manager, Distribution Business Line, North Coast Region. “We have some of the best linemen in the world and the International Lineman’s Rodeo allows them the opportunity to demonstrate their skills. Partnering with IBEW Local 47, SCE continues to support this event that showcases the skill and pride of the lineman’s trade.”
This will be SCE apprentice Brandon Gloria’s first International Lineman’s Rodeo. He placed first in the Hurtman Rescue events at the PG&E and SDG&E rodeos earlier this year so he is hopeful of his chances in Kansas.
“I hope to run clean and make my time and I should place,” said the 24 year old from SCE’s San Joaquin District. “I feel good.”
SCE apprentice Alex Cortez, 25, placed 53rd overall out of 300 apprentices at last year’s international event and hopes to do even better this year.
“Hopefully, I can take home some hardware,” he said.
For more information about SCE lineman jobs: edison.com/careers.