Charlotte, N.C., November 11, 2010 – Duke Energy distribution lineman Aaron Smith was named World Champion Apprentice at the 27th annual international lineman’s rodeo, held recently in Bonner Springs, Kan.
He also made rodeo history by being the first competitor ever to score 100 percent on the apprentice written test. Participants can earn up to 100 points per event. Smith finished with a score of 498 out of 500 possible points.
“To have a near perfect score in the International competition as an apprentice has got to be one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences,” said John Lowe, Duke Energy training specialist. “Aaron has put in a lot of time preparing for the competition and takes pride in his ability on the job at Duke Energy.”
The rodeo brings together the world’s best linemen to compete in a series of events that test traditional lineman skills and knowledge.
In addition to receiving overall honors and acing the written test, Smith finished first in the apprentice category in the investor owned utility (IOU) division.
While Duke Energy has won many awards at the international rodeo in the past, Smith was the first Duke Energy lineman to receive three awards in one night.
The Richfield, N.C., resident competed against more than 200 apprentices in the international competition. The apprentice division is made up of line workers who are within their first four years of the trade.
Apprentice competitors were judged on their skills, professionalism and safety in a series of events consisting of a hurt man rescue (simulated rescue using a mannequin hanging from a 40-foot pole), pole climb, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) with automated external defibrillation (AED), one mystery event, and a written test.
Overall, Duke Energy made its strongest showing yet in the annual competition. In addition to Smith’s first place in the apprentice division, the company earned fifth place in the apprentice division, third and fifth place for journeyman teams in the IOU division, and fifth place in the senior team division.
“Our electric customers also benefit from these competitions; our linemen practice the skills necessary to attend these events — the same skills that are used on the job daily,” Lowe said. “We train all our linemen to perform their job safely. The participants in the rodeo competitions are at the top of their profession and we are fortunate to have them working for us.”
The International Lineman’s Rodeo began in 1984 with only 12 teams from Kansas and Missouri and has since attracted top linemen from the U.S. and other countries. This year, more than 650 of the world’s best linemen competed for trophies, plaques and belt buckles. In addition, the winners also earned bragging rights for one year as the best in the profession.
“The International Lineman’s Rodeo is an opportunity for linemen to walk onto the field of competition and prove to everyone that they are the best,” said Lowe. “Linemen by nature are very competitive and this is their opportunity to prove it.”
Duke Energy Carolinas owns nuclear, coal-fired, natural gas and hydroelectric generation. That diverse fuel mix provides about 19,000 MW of electricity capacity to about 2.4 million customers in a 22,000-square-mile service area of North Carolina and South Carolina.
Duke Energy is one of the largest electric power holding companies in the U.S. Its regulated utility operations serve about 4 million customers located in five states in the Southeast and Midwest, representing a population of about 11 million people.
Its commercial power and international business segments own and operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing portfolio of renewable energy assets in the U.S.