SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Instructors from the 366th Training Squadron took first place in the military division at the 34th annual International Linemen’s Rodeo in Kansas City, Missouri, Oct. 14.
The joint team was comprised of Air Force Staff Sgt. Christopher Shaw, Army Staff Sgt. Robert Pepperling and Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jasen Nickman, all electrical systems apprentice course instructors at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas.
The International Linemen’s Rodeo attracts highly skilled linemen from around the world to compete in events based on traditional electrical tasks and skills. The team from Sheppard competed against 238 teams in four events.
The team knew their performance at the annual competition would reflect the quality of training provided at Sheppard to Airmen, Soldiers and Sailors.
“It was an honor to represent the base and show the entire lineman community that the training we provide at Sheppard is the best of the best,” Nickman said.
The team enjoyed the opportunity to apply their expertise in a competitive environment. When they returned to the classroom, 1st place trophy in hand, students began to understand that becoming a lineman is more than just a job.
“This career field is dangerous,” Shaw said. “You have to be passionate about it to succeed and ultimately that’s what we want our students to understand.”
The first event was the Hurt Man Rescue. In only 3 minutes and 4 seconds, Pepperling and Nickman worked together to shut down the electricity, scale a 40 foot pole, and lower a life-like dummy safely to the ground.
Immediately following, Pepperling and Nickman competed in a 40 foot pole climb, where they were required to secure an egg in their mouth throughout the duration of the event. The most skilled linemen were able to complete this challenge in less than 45 seconds.
The final two events required the team to install shunts, perform wire ties, and replace a cross arm all while suspended 40 feet above the ground.
In addition to the competition, networking among the military and civilian professionals at the event was invaluable for the attendees and the troops being trained at Sheppard.
“The lineman we train for the guard and reserve are able to use their skills for the military and the civilian side,” Pepperling said. “We can hook those people up with connections we make at the rodeo.”
Airmen, Soldiers and Sailors from the 366th TRS are committed to providing quality training for the next generation of electricians.
“Rest assured that we have the best to train the rest,” said Army Capt. Christopher Gibbs, Delta Company commander.