Bo Asbury has worked for Middle Tennessee Electric in Cannon County for 32 years, with 25 of those as a full-fledged lineman. This year was his second time to compete in the Lineman Rodeo, an annual event that draws teams and individuals from utilities across the Tennessee Valley to compete in a variety of safety and skills competitions. Bo explains, “The Lineman Rodeo is made of events you do every day on the job.”
This year, Bo won the Overall Senior Lineman category, which includes linemen who are at least 45 years old. Sixteen competed this year, making Bo’s first-place finish notable and impressive.
Last year, Bo came in second, but he was not completely satisfied. Bo says, “I don’t really love competitions, but I do hate to lose.” So, he made a point to climb at least one electrical pole every single day for a month before this year’s event.
Bo was delighted to better his finish from last year. He plans to compete again in 2020, in part to be around the younger linemen to mentor them. This illustrates that, much more than winning, Bo is motivated by the teamwork that goes into this event.
“I don’t really love competitions, but I do hate to lose.”
— Bo Asbury
He points out, “It’s a real team that makes you feel a part of something bigger than just yourself. You might be having a bad day, and a teammate pats you on the shoulder to show support. Everyone wants to help make everyone else better.”
As for linemen’s contributions on a day-to-day basis, MTEMC President/CEO Chris Jones says, “Linemen work very hard every day, building and repairing lines, ensuring the overall reliability of the electrical grid in their service territories. They are the unsung heroes who stand at the ready to respond to outages caused by storms, accidents or anything else that may knock out the power. They are the ones who, through their tireless efforts, help ensure the system reliability of member-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives.”
The Lineman Rodeo is really a celebration of this perspective and a way to honor the linemen for doing such challenging work while encouraging them to practice safe work habits. A big salute is owed to all of them for their daily efforts. The work they put into maintaining and restoring power ultimately makes MTEMC members winners, too.