COT Holds Pole Yard Rodeo

COT Holds Pole Yard Rodeo


COT Holds Pole Yard Rodeo


Butte, MT – On April 12, 2010, the College of Technology’s Lineman Program held a Pole Yard Rodeo. The purpose of the Rodeo was to test the students’ skills associated with the Utility Industry. There were four teams including the Flaggers, the Goat Heads, the Lags, and the Statics.

“The skills tested here are extremely important for students to master before joining the professional lineman world,” said Jim Babst, Senior Instructor in the COT Lineman Program. “As you might imagine, dealing with high levels of electricity and a dangerous work environment is a prescription for disaster unless these skills and their associated safety issues are almost second-nature.”

The Rodeo skills included: installing and removing a 100 KV insulator; hanging transformers; using the back-hoe to dig holes with specific measurements and then appropriately re-filling them; tool and materials identification, digger truck utilization; and climbing numerous poles of different configurations.

“I recognize the skills demonstrated by the Lineman students as being critically important,” said Dr. John M. Garic, Dean of the College of Technology. “However, having it in the form of a competitive rodeo has added a lot of fun to the entire process. I congratulate the winners.”

The winning team was the Goat Heads, which included students, Mark Schwomeyer, Justin O’Keefe, and Dustin Hoffenbacker.

In the industry, a goat head is a piece of specialized equipment. When guy wires are used to support a pole or tower structure, they can act as a lightning rod electrocuting someone who may be touching the wire when the structure gets hit. To help protect against this, Goat Heads (a/k/a Guy Strain Insulators) are used to electrically insulate the lower portion of the guy wire from the upper. The piece of equipment somewhat looks like a goat head.

For any further information about this issue or any issue pertaining to Montana Tech, please contact Dr. John M. Garic at 406-496-3714 or Amanda Badovinac at 406-496-4828.