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GVEC team competes in Texas Lineman’s Rodeo

GVEC team competes in Texas Lineman’s Rodeo
GVEC Journeyman Team Christopher Laake, Zeke Ybarra, and Ricky Varela (on ground) compete in the URD Riser event during the 2011 Texas Lineman’s Rodeo.

The Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative (GVEC) recently took honors in the 15th annual Texas Lineman’s Rodeo held July 16 at Nolte Island in Seguin. One lineman team, including Ricky Varela, Zeke Ybarra, and Christopher Laake, competed in the rodeo along with apprentices Derek Ranft, James Hunter, and Zach Land.

The journeyman team of Varela, Ybarra, and Laake earned high marks at the rodeo, taking seventh place in the cooperative division and 13th place in the overall journeyman team category.

GVEC apprentices Ranft, Hunter, and Land placed in the top 15 of various events, including URD Service In-stall, the rope event, and written test. In the overall apprentice category, Hunter placed eighth, Ranft placed 19th, and Land placed 46th.

Adding to the day’s festivities, Jeff Kerlick, GVEC lineman, earned third place in the bean category of the barbecue and bean cook-off, while the GVEC communications team was recognized for the best magazine ad in the 2011 Rodeo Event Program.

The Texas Lineman’s Rodeo is an annual event sponsored by the Texas Lineman’s Rodeo Association in conjunction with the Lower Colorado River Authority, Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, GVEC, and other electric utilities, contractors, suppliers, and manufacturers. At this year’s event, 32 lineman teams and 57 apprentices from across Texas competed in events such as pole climbing, hurtman rescue, and dead-end pole transfer. The competition is meant to encourage safe work practices and improve communication among the line workers as well as give participants a chance to demonstrate the level of safety, workmanship, and teamwork used on the job.

GVEC Engineering and Operations Division Manager and Chief Operating Officer Bobby Christmas said, “The lineman’s rodeo is a great opportunity for the public to see firsthand the challenges linemen face on a daily basis as they work to restore electricity for the community. The work is physically de-manding and requires a high level of skill, knowledge, and teamwork to get the job done safely and correctly. We are very proud of our GVEC rodeo teams for it not only validates the quality of their work, but also shows their dedication to service as well as the spirit of friendly competition with their peers.”

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