Winning on the wire: Duke Energy lineworkers take home 12 awards at International Lineman’s Rodeo

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  • 46 Duke Energy lineworkers competed against other utilities at international event showcasing lineworker talent, technique

  • Skilled lineworkers play critical role building reliant, resilient, smart grid of the future

BONNER SPRINGS, Kan. – There were no cowboys among the competitors at this year’s International Lineman's Rodeo in Bonner Springs, Kan. – but a group of elite Duke Energy lineworkers lassoed 12 awards for outstanding performances. Top awards included a lineworker journeyman team based in Eastern North Carolina who won first place in the investor-owned utility (IOU) division. The team – made up of Craig Callis of Willow Spring, Ryan Denning of Benson and Ethan Nunn of Pittsboro – also captured second place in best of the best and fourth place in the second mystery event announced the day before competition designed to simulate unexpected challenges on a job.

A lineworker journeyman team working out of the Duke Ohio/Kentucky service area, competing as International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) local 1347, received first place honors in the seniors division. That team is made up of one Duke Energy retiree and two Duke Energy employees – David Barricklow of West Harrison, Ind., Matthew Dugan of Amelia, Ohio, and T.J. Lewis of Dillsboro, Ind.

“Every event we do at the rodeo is detailed and strategic,” said Tyler Manick, Duke Energy journeyman lineworker. “You carry that over into the field in the middle of the night when it’s raining and you have to make a decision on the fly – it helps us be better in the work we do for our customers.”

Best lineworkers in the world

Held annually at the National Agricultural Hall of Fame, the rodeo attracts the best lineworkers from around the world to compete in events based on traditional lineworker tasks. Forty-six Duke Energy line technicians were among 1,300 competitors from across the globe who competed at this year’s event. Duke Energy participants earned their spots by competing in regional Duke Energy events in 2022.

The 38th International Lineman’s Rodeo featured simulations of “hurt-man rescues,” power line repairs and utility pole climbs. Mystery events involving repairing or replacing equipment require teammates to collaborate to solve problems as quickly and safely as possible. Competitors were judged on speed, agility, technique and safety procedures.

Duke Energy lineworkers competed in the apprentice, journeyman and senior team divisions. An apprentice is a lineworker with less than four years of utility experience. A rodeo journeyman has greater than four years of utility experience, and a senior-journeyman must be over 50 years old.

Duke Energy ropes in awards

Other winners included a journeyman team based in Marion, N.C., that won second place in the first mystery event, fourth in the IOU division, and fifth in best of the best. That team is made up of Joshua Buckner of Marion, Tyler Manick of Old Fort, N.C., and Tyler Nickols of Marion. Another journeyman team based in Asheville, N.C., received third place in the IOU division, fourth in best of the best, and fifth place in the first mystery event. That team includes Keith Griffin of Marshall, N.C., Jay Tipton of Marshall, N.C., and Jason Worley of Leicester, N.C.

A journeyman team from Florida – made up of Ed Filor of Crystal River, Chet Braden of Palmetto, and Henry Shupe of New Port Richey – also took home third place in the seniors division.

In the apprentice awards, Zach Ballard of Angier, N.C., placed second in the first mystery event.

Photos, videos and more information about the winners can be found here.

Guardians of the grid

As the grid and linework become more technologically advanced, line crews don’t climb poles in real-life scenarios as much as they used to – but baseline lineworking skills are still paramount to safety and preparedness.

The International Lineman’s Rodeo events take place on de-energized equipment in a training environment, but participants are scored based on simulations of on-the-job work, with deductions for mistakes.

“The dedication and expertise of our lineworkers, both on the job and when competing,  demonstrate Duke Energy at its best,” said Harry Sideris, Duke Energy’s executive vice president of customer experience, solutions and services. “Their role is important in keeping the lights on for the communities who depend on us – and in shaping our future infrastructure. We are grateful for their commitment to safety and to our customers.”

Powering tomorrow’s essential workforce

Lineworkers are already playing an integral role in creating a more efficient, modern digital grid – and Duke Energy is recruiting additional team members to support future-facing projects. A grid rooted in smart technology will be more reliable and resilient, enable a faster and smoother transition to cleaner energy, and give customers more ways to use energy the way they want to use it.

Graduates of lineworker training programs at local community colleges are ideal candidates for roles at Duke Energy. Individuals interested in a career as an electric lineworker with Duke Energy should contact community colleges directly for more information on their specific lineworker training programs, including available funding for tuition.

Duke Energy

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of America’s largest energy holding companies. Its electric utilities serve 8.2 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 50,000 megawatts of energy capacity. Its natural gas unit serves 1.6 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The company employs 28,000 people.

Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy transition to achieve its goals of net-zero methane emissions from its natural gas business and at least a 50% carbon reduction from electric generation by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The 2050 net-zero goals also include Scope 2 and certain Scope 3 emissions. In addition, the company is investing in major electric grid enhancements and energy storage, and exploring zero-emission power generation technologies such as hydrogen and advanced nuclear.

Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2022 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list and Forbes’ “America’s Best Employers” list. More information is available at The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos and videos. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on TwitterLinkedInInstagram and Facebook.

Duke Energy media contact: Logan Kureczka
Media line: 800.559.3853