(WACO, Texas) – You cannot make an omelet without breaking some eggs, but for 30 students at Texas State Technical College’s first-ever Lineman Rodeo, breaking an egg could cost them points.
The third-semester students, all from TSTC’s Electrical Lineworker and Management Technology program at the Waco campus, divided into eight teams to compete in the event at the campus’ pole yard on Wednesday, Nov. 16. These students are scheduled to graduate on Dec. 14.
The participants braved outdoor temperatures in the 40s to compete in four climbing events: speed, which involved transporting a raw egg to the top of a utility pole and back down without breaking it; insulator change; single arm change-out; and double arm change-out. Each competitor was equipped with some 30 pounds of gear and tools.
During the competition, points could be deducted for a variety of infractions, including failure to wear personal protective equipment, dropping a hard hat, improper use of tools, and making negative comments.
TSTC Electrical Lineworker program statewide lead Eric Carithers said some of TSTC’s industry partners sent representatives, some of whom served as impartial judges, to the event.
Participants included Austin Energy, IBEW Local 66, Kiewit Corp., Navarro County Electric Co-op., Oncor, Pedernales Electric Co-op., Pike Corp. and Scott Pole Line.
“For our students to go to work, it’s important to have people that support our programs,” Carithers said of the industry partners.
At least one company was prepared to award cash prizes of $250 to each member of the winning team.
TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree and a certificate of completion in Electrical Lineworker and Management Technology at its Fort Bend County, Harlingen, Marshall and Waco campuses.
The program is part of TSTC’s Money-Back Guarantee, which refunds a graduate’s tuition if he or she has not found a job in their field within six months of graduation.
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.