Electric crews place poles at Boomer Lake Park to prepare for the MESO Lineworkers Rodeo on Sept. 20. Download photos at https://flic.kr/s/aHsmskRCYe
Photo Credit: City of Stillwater
(STILLWATER, OKLAHOMA / Sept. 12, 2018) – The rodeo is coming to Stillwater on Thursday, Sept. 20, but not the kind you would usually expect.
Instead of roping cattle and barrel racing, the public is invited to watch electric lineworkers from across the state compete in events such as speed climbing, obstacle courses and hurt man rescue at the 2018 Municipal Electric Systems of Oklahoma Lineworkers Rodeo.
“Residents will see several wooden poles installed at Boomer Lake Park to prepare for the competition,” Electric Distribution Superintendent Clint Oliver said. “Although these poles are not connected to any electric lines or power, the various team and individual events will give Oklahoma’s public power lineworkers an invaluable opportunity to test their skills.”
Although it is a competition, the main benefit of these annual rodeos is networking with their peers in the lineworker community.
“Sometimes after major storms that leave communities without power, crews from different cities are requested to help restore electricity,” Oliver said. “Getting the opportunity to meet and work with your peers in a controlled environment like this helps us learn from one another and work more efficiently and effectively when we’re asked to respond to a crisis together.”
Mutual aid competitive events are also included in the event to train for situations like these.
The public and guests from other cities are welcome to attend the rodeo festivities on Thursday, Sept. 20 at Boomer Lake Park. The event begins with an opening ceremony at 7:30 a.m. The City will stream the opening ceremony via Facebook Live.
The competition begins around 8 a.m. and finishes around 1 p.m.
Parking for the competitors and guests is available in the park.
Lineworkers will arrive in Stillwater on Wednesday, Sept. 19 for a day of training and safety presentations before the rodeo competition.
“Our annual lineworkers rodeo gives professionals from public power utilities – like the City of Stillwater - an opportunity to learn, practice and compete in a friendly environment,” said Tom Dougherty, MESO director of job training and safety. “We offer several opportunities throughout the year to help lineworkers from our member cities improve their skills and, in turn, provide safe, reliable electric services in their local communities.”
Stillwater also hosted the rodeo in 2014 and is looking forward to welcoming the state’s municipal lineworkers back to our city.
Public Power Communities
Stillwater is one of 191 of the nation’s public power utilities to earn the Reliable Public Power Provider designation from the American Public Power Association for providing consumers with the highest degree of reliable and safe electric service.
According to the association, customers of public power utilities like Stillwater lose power less often. Customers of a public power utility are likely to be without power for just 59 minutes a year, compared to customers of private utilities who may lose power for 133 minutes a year — provided there are no major adverse events. One factor for this strong reliability is the electric team is centralized to the area.
Municipal Electric Systems of Oklahoma is the statewide trade association of Oklahoma’s 63 municipally owned electric distribution utilities. MESO provides a variety of services to its member cities including electric line apprenticeship, job training and safety, supervisory training, on-site customer service and administration training, drug testing to meet federal mandates, and consultation on policy issues such as terms and conditions of electric service or rate policy.
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