There's a rodeo scheduled for Sept. 28 in St. Louis, but you won't see any cowboys or bucking broncos there. Instead, the eighth annual Lineman's Rodeo will feature about 750 hard hats clambering up and down utility poles.
"We call linemen the last of the true cowboys. Their jobs are high-risk," declares organizer Tom White of TWSCO of Kansas City, Mo., a sales agency for makers of utility gear. Contestants will splice ropes and change insulators, but the most electrifying event is sure to be the race up and down a 45-foot utility pole. Big deal, you say? What if you had to do it while carrying a raw, unbroken egg in your mouth? When Pacific Gas & Electric held a regional rodeo to pick finalists for St. Louis, most linemen climbed up and down in 43 seconds or less. But about half busted the egg. Says Melvin De Roza, a PG&E supervisor: "You have to be relaxed and not grit your teeth."