Cooperative News

PEC apprentices shine at International Lineman’s Rodeo

Two-time top apprentice credits successes to journeyman mentorship

Winning it all at the International Lineman’s Rodeo is no small feat, and doing so twice is just short of unheard of. But that’s what Canyon Lake Lineworker Apprentice Zackery Gough did in Kansas on Saturday, October 14, 2023.

With a total time of 23:03.08 in all the events and only six deductions for 494 total points, Gough came out on top against 440 apprentices from across the United States and parts of Canada and Brazil to win Best of the Best Top Overall Apprentice. He also won top apprentice in the REA (Rural Electrification Administration) Division, first in the Apprentice Written Test, and fifth in Hurtman Rescue.

“The competition was big this year,” Gough said. “I know there are a lot of top competitors around the world, but I felt like some of my biggest competition was within PEC, and I think that has helped me do well this year.”

Along with Gough, Cedar Park Apprentice Daniel Wilson achieved the third-place spot in the Apprentice REA Division and eighth place in Apprentice Best of the Best, while Cedar Park Lineworker Apprentice Matthew Mabry earned second place in the Written Test and fourth in the Apprentice REA Division.

Linework skills are tough to perform, and poor weather conditions only make it tougher. On Saturday, those who participated had to battle 15 mph wind speeds, occasional rain, and temperatures in the low 50s. Our lineworkers were able to swiftly adjust and perform the tasks as well as possible.

“Working for the utility, I’ve had to work in some weather that wasn’t ideal, I think that my experience in the past has helped me adapt to conditions for the rodeo,” Gough said.

But Gough isn’t about to take all the credit. He noted that none of this would be possible without the leadership he and the other apprentices receive daily from our journeyworkers.

“Having journeymen to look up to has definitely helped me in my apprenticeship,” Gough said. “Being able to talk to guys who have been there before and know what they’re doing, they know little tips and tricks that definitely have led me to do well in the rodeos this past year.”

PEC sent four journeyman teams from Kyle, Canyon Lake, and Marble Falls, and had an outstanding performance against the nearly 300 other teams who competed nationwide.

In the REA Division, Jason Dean, Darren Donhauser, and David Hernandez took sixth; Craig Hernandez, Cooper Johnson, and Jared Schmitt took eighth; Garrit Afman, Caleb Brodock, and Thomas Logan took ninth; and Justin Ferry, Tyler Horn, and Marshall Verette took twelfth. In the Journeyman Mystery Event No. 1 competition, Dean, Donhauser, and Hernandez placed sixth.

“Our apprentices and journeyworkers take on tough tasks safely and efficiently day in and day out, and it was great to see the hard work they perform for our members on display in Kansas,” said Canyon Lake Regional Operations Director Brian Magott. “We’re so fortunate to have these men on our team, and we extend our congratulations to everyone who participated. We also thank the International Lineman’s Rodeo organization for always hosting an exciting, competitive, and safe event for our crews each year.”

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