CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Duke Energy line workers took home 11 awards at the International Lineman's Rodeo Oct. 18 in Bonner Springs, Kan.
One Duke Energy team from North Carolina finished second in the world in the overall journeyman category, and second overall in the investor-owned utility division. The team was composed of Preston Pernell of Kittrell, N.C., Shawn Martin of Holly Springs, N.C., and Keith Vandervelde of Willow Springs, N.C.
"We're overwhelmed and excited to be ranked second in the world," said Keith Vandervelde, who has been a Duke Energy lineman for nine years. "I couldnt help but grin ear-to-ear when 300 Duke Energy linemen, their families and friends, stood and cheered as we accepted our trophy."
Duke Energy also won five awards in the journeyman team and senior-journeyman team divisions. A rodeo journeyman has more than four years of utility experience, while a senior-journeyman must be at least 45 years old.
Norman May and Derick Willis, both of Wilmington, N.C., and Brent Whitford of Ernul, N.C., placed fourth in the world overall, and third among investor-owned utilities.
The team also placed fourth in a journeyman mystery event, which was announced the day before the competition, and tested teams on a roller-block installation. Mystery events are designed to simulate unexpected challenges experienced on the job.
Sandy Barnhill of Candler, N.C., and Keith Griffin and Jay Tipton, both of Marshall, N.C., placed second in the mystery event.
Joe Badger of Inverness, Fla., Ed Filor of Crystal River, Fla., and Jerry Searson of Tallahassee, Fla., placed fifth in the senior-journeyman team division.
Four Duke Energy journeyman teams finished the competition with perfect scores, and five journeyman teams finished in the top 25 out of 204 teams.
Ronnie Bailey Jr. of Lake Panasoffkee, Fla., placed second in the apprentice investor-owned utility division, and fifth in the apprentice written test. An apprentice is a line worker with fewer than four years of utility experience.
"The hard work I put in has paid off," said Bailey, whose father has been a Duke Energy Florida line worker for 33 years. "Receiving the award was surreal, and I couldn't have done it without the support of my co-workers and the team. I'm thankful to the company for giving us the tools and time to be successful, and I'm proud to represent Duke Energy in the world spotlight."
Jamie Bannister of Anderson, S.C., placed fourth, and Chase Ritch of Tavares, Fla., placed fifth in the apprentice investor-owned utility division. Five Duke Energy apprentices placed in the top 20 out of 255 competitors.
Overall, 60 Duke Energy line workers competed at the 31st annual International Lineman's Rodeo. They were tested on job related-skills such as hurt-man rescues, equipment repair and pole climbs, while being judged on speed, agility, technique and safety procedures.
Learn more about competitors here: http://www.duke-energy.com/about-us/stories_lineman_rodeo.asp
Photos can be accessed on Flickr at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dukeenergy/sets/72157648908238395/
Duke Energy employs more than 5,000 line workers to construct, operate and maintain the equipment that delivers electricity to approximately 7.2 million customers across its service territories.
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com.