When Apprentice Linemen Manuel “Manny” Pina of Ricardo and Richard Padilla of Robstown, along with their coach Journey Lineman Benny Torres of Robstown, returned from the 2013 Texas Lineman Association Rodeo on July 22, they were excited...and ready to start training and planning for next year.

Both apprentices competed in a series of tests, including a written test, and even one which involved keeping an egg in their mouth while climbing down a pole! As a coach, Benny’s job was to mentor each apprentice and provide moral support and guidance.

Held in Sequin, Texas, the Lineman Rodeo is an annual event which is attended two dozen of the 67 Texas Coops. It’s meant to not only be a competition but a great training opportunity as well. Each test has a moderator who will discuss the lineman’s skills with the competitor and often discuss how to complete the task more efficiently and appropriately. Advice and training opportunities come from fellow competitors as well, which is what makes the Lineman Rodeo truly unique — competitors cooperating with each other.

This was Manny’s second year to compete and Richard’s first. Both men and their coach displayed true South Texas manners while keeping a competitive spirit. Nueces Electric and the eight counties served by NEC lines are going to remain in good hands with confident and well trained lineman like Manny and Richard.

Started by a group of farmers and ranchers who truly exemplified the pioneer spirit, Nueces Electric Cooperative, Inc. has served the Coastal Bend since 1938. Nueces Electric Cooperative has evolved into a Cooperative that provides delivery services to over 17,000 meters utilizing over 3,000 miles of energized power line. Nueces Electric Cooperative also provides competitive retail services to more than 20,000 consumers in the Corpus Christi area and other parts of Texas outside the NEC delivery area. For information contact us at 1.800.NEC.WATT or www.nueceselectric.org.