In Florida, friendly line worker contest is all in a day’s work

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  • Duke Energy employees faceoff in the 2016 Florida Lineman’s Rodeo Feb. 27

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Duke Energy Florida linemen from across Florida will take to the poles in the Florida Lineman’s Rodeo on Feb. 27 at the Winter Garden, Fla., training center.

Competitors are tested on job-related skills such as equipment repair and pole climbs, while being judged on speed, agility, technique and safety procedures. This year, more than 100 linemen are scheduled to participate.

“I’m competitive by nature,” said Nick Fritz, a lineman, based in Clearwater, who took first overall in the Florida state rodeo last year. “These are more than just competitions. The rodeos really help you learn, improve your skills and do a better job for our customers.”

Many teams and individual competitors put in dozens of extra hours training and honing their skills prior to the rodeo. Practices are taking place this week on non-energized training poles at operations centers in St. Petersburg, Buena Vista and at the company’s Winter Garden Training Center.

The winners from the Florida event will join other top linemen from Duke Energy rodeos in the Carolinas and the Midwest to compete in the International Lineman’s Rodeo this fall, which includes competitors from throughout the U.S. and many foreign countries. Last year, lineman apprentice Chase Ritch of Apopka placed second in the Apprentice Written Test. A Clearwater-based Journeyman team of Fritz, Curtis Wilson and Will MacDonald placed fifth in the Investor-Owned Utility category.

An apprentice is a line worker with fewer than four years of utility experience. A rodeo journeyman has more than four years of utility experience, while a senior-journeyman must be at least 45 years old.

“The part of this job I enjoy the most is the sense of brotherhood I feel with my fellow linemen,” said Ivan White who is competing as a journeyman.. “This competition gives us an opportunity to show off our day-to-day expertise and share it with our family and kids.”

The Florida rodeo competition begins Feb. 27 at 7 a.m. at the Winter Garden Training Center, 402 E. Crown Point Road, Winter Garden, Fla. The event will also feature children’s activities, such as face painting, sand art demonstrations, a bounce house, a rock climbing wall and bucket rides. Media is invited to attend.

Duke Energy Florida

Duke Energy Florida owns coal-fired and natural gas generation providing about 9,000 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 1.7 million customers in a 13,000-square-mile service area.

With its Florida regional headquarters located in St. Petersburg, Fla., Duke Energy is the largest electric power holding company in the United States. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 7.3 million electric customers located in six states in the Southeast and Midwest, representing a population of approximately 23 million people. Its Commercial Portfolio 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 United States.

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

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