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Nebraska Lineworker Rodeo General Rules for All Rodeo Competitors

  1. All safety rules are to be observed during events.
  2. A competitor may not compete if bleeding.
  3. Rubber gloves are required for all simulated energized Journeyman and Apprentice events or as specified for each individual event.  Rubber gloves may be inspected by the event staff prior to the start of each event.  If rubber gloves are not required, work gloves shall be worn during competition.
  4. Safety glasses are required for all events.
  5. Hard hats must be worn properly during all events.
  6. Long sleeve shirts are required.  Sleeves can’t be pushed or rolled up.
  7. A random tool inspection may be conducted to check for safe condition and for any alterations to tools such as:
    a.    Tapered cuts on straps.
    b.    Tape on straps.
    c.     Filed buckles.
    d.    Fingers cut out of gloves.
    e.    Elongated holes in straps and belts.
    f.     Improper gaff length.
    g.    Unsafe handlines.
    If a judge discovers that tools and equipment are altered to be unsafe, 5 points will be deducted from the event that the competitor is competing in at the time the altered tool is discovered.
  8. Competitors may ask the judge questions before the event begins but not while judging and it is his responsibility to do so.  A maximum of 5 minutes to ask questions and layout tools will be given prior to starting the event.
  9. Video footage will not be allowed to settle judging disputes.
  10. No drones are allowed at the Rodeo grounds unless prior authorization is granted by the Nebraska Lineworkers Rodeo Committee.
  11. Cheering is encouraged, but professional coaching from supporters outside individual event arenas will be controlled by immediately deducting 2 points to the competitior(s) followed by disqualification, if not stopped.
  12. All tools shall be provided by the competitor(s) unless otherwise noted on the individual  event specifications.
  13. Battery powered tools are NOT allowed.
  14. All permanent connections shall be wire brushed before completing connection, or as specified for each individual event.
  15. All connections and hardware will be tightened to the appropriate torque rating using the proper tools (i.e. channel locks shall not be used to tighten nuts, etc.).
  16. The groundman on a team is permitted to time the event as well.
  17. Work gloves shall be worn when performing any work on the ground.
  18. A climber wearing his climbing gear may assist the groundman while framing material during the event, however, gaff guards must be on gaffs.
  19. Gaff guards must remain on climber’s gaffs when he is outside of the immediate work area (10 feet from the event pole).
  20. Judging will continue until all materials are packed up and event site is restored to the original condition.
  21. It is mandatory for all Journeyman and Apprentice climbing events that the climbing competitiors use personal fall protections systems.  Fall protection systems shall be supplied by the competitor and be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications along with the use of secondary work positioning strap or lanyard while transitioning around attachments on the pole.  (The use of two fall arrest devices will not be permitted). While using the secondary positioning strap or lanyard, the competitior shall not get into a position to allow for a free fall greater than 0.6 meters (2 feet).
  22. Handlines must be used for all climbing events unless otherwise noted on each individual event.  There must be one handline for every structure to be climbed.  Handlines must meet the requirements stated in the 15th Edition of the APPA Safety Manual, Section 507.19 that the handlines be constructed of a minimum ½ diameter rope.  It is required that the handline be railroaded to the ground prior to descending the pole.
  23. Time for each event will begin with the judge’s signal and the competitor is standing an arm’s length from the pole.  The fall arrest system will not be allowed to be attached to the pole prior to starting the event.  Time stops when the last climber has both feet on the ground unless otherwise noted on each individual event.
  24. Competition eligibility requirments must be met.
    a.    All participants must be employed by a public power utility that provides electricity to a customer located in Nebraska.  
    b.    A person is considered an apprentice for 4 years after they enter an apprentice program.  A team consists of one Journeyman Lineman and and one ground support person.  This two person team is permitted to rotate roles between events.  If a team member is hurt, that individual is out of the competition for the remainder of the events.  The team can substitute a registered alternate for the one hurt.  The groundman can be an alternate if he is a Journeyman Lineman.


Additional General Rules for All Journeyman Events

  1. Team will supply and utilize a 10’ x 10’ (minimum) tarp to store tools and equipment during the event (exception – Hurtman Rescue).
  2. On all simulated energized events, Class 2 or higher rubber gloves must be worn ground to ground.
  3. On all simualted energized events, proper cover-up is required. NESC 2017 MAD.
  4. On climbing events, the climber must be back on the ground before the event will be considered complete unless otherwise noted on the individual event.

Infractions: 2, 5, and 10 Point Deductions

2-Point deductions

  1. Loose hardhat.
  2. Wearing hardhat backwards.
  3. Not wearing safety glasses.
  4. Improper cover up – i.e. rubber in reach, fall, or slip zone.
  5. Twisted hand line operation.
  6. Dropping tools, materials or equipment.
  7. Cutout with loss of control on the pole.
  8. Hot-dogging (Hot dogging is defined as a lineworker “being out of control” drop steps, exccessive uncontrolled speed).
  9. There must be one gaff in the pole at all times when climbing on the pole.
  10. Handline operation when a climber is repositioning on the pole.
  11. Not using handline, bucket, or material bag for sending materials up and down the poles.
  12. Failure to railroad handline prior to descending pole.
  13. Misuse of tools.
  14. Misuse of insulating cover up.
  15. Not wearing a long sleeved shirt.  Sleeves can’t be pushed up or rolled up.
  16. Injuries or cuts which result in bleeding.
  17. Loss of control.
  18. Not wearing OSHA approved Lineworker’s climbing belt.
  19. Poor housekeeping.
  20. Exceeding the mean time to complete events.
  21. Groundman not wearing work gloves.
  22. Climbers not wearing work gloves (when rubber gloves are not required) to perfom work on the ground.
  23. Fall arrest system not used within manufacturer’s guidelines and/or not keeping system adjusted properly.
  24. Hanging tools on phase conductors, neutrals, crossarms or safety straps.
  25. Failure to maintain minimum approach distances as described by NESC 2017.
  26. Failure to follow event schedule unless instructed to do so by the Master Judge.  This includes checking in for events and staying in line.
  27. Being late for an event.
  28. Professional coaching from outside the event arena.
  29. Others as determined by individual event description.

5-Point Deduction

  1. Continuing to work inside legal clearances after minimum approach distance has been violated.
  2. Exceeding the drop dead time to complete events.  In addition, the competitor’s time for the event will be doubled.
  3. Altering tools and equipment that renders them unsafe.

10-Point Deduction

  1. Accidental contact with phases (with any equipment other than approved live line tools).
  2. Working on two different potentials at the same time.
  3. Climber not wearing rubber gloves (in events where they are required) ground to ground.
  4. Cut-out and/or fall to ground (Climber’s feet are approx. 6’ from ground level prior to fall).
  5. Ascending or descending the pole if the handline is being operated.
  6. Others as determined by individual event description.


  1. Violating the Code of Conduct.
  2. Unprofessional behavior.
  3. Practicing on the rodeo event poles prior to the rodeo.
  4. Intentional sabotage or tampering with materials, tools, or equipment on the rodeo field.
  5. Protests need to be made by competitor’s only.  No help from the spectators or others.
  6. Coaching from supporters outside the arena that does not stop after the first warning (automatic 2-point deduction penalty).
  7. Failure to attempt an event.


Contesting a Call

Although we try to avoid any contested calls, there may be a time when the competitor feels the need to contest a deduction.  The Journeyman team or Apprentice must be the one to contest the call.  Help from the spectators or others in a contested call situation will result in the team or apprentices being disqualified.  No team or apprentice will be allowed to protest another team or apprentice.

If a competitor wishes to contest a call he must take his grievance to the chief event judge who will have been pointed out by the greeter for the event.  The competitor must make his/her grievance known to the chief event judge before leaving the event area.

The chief event judge will settle the dispute.  If the competitor is not satisfied with this ruling, the competitor may then elect to take his protest to the Appeals Committee.  The Appeals committee will consist of the Journeyman master judge, the Apprentice master judge and the chief event judge for the event of the call in questions.  If the Appeals Committee upholds the chief event judge’s ruling, the team forfeits two points. The decision by the Appeals Committee is final.

Questions?  Please contact

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