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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 the 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:
    • Tapered cuts on straps
    • Tape on straps.
    • Filed buckles.
    • Fingers cut out of gloves.
    • Elongated holes in straps and belts.
    • Improper gaff length.
    • 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 must check in at their first event within 30 minutes after the completion of the opening ceremony. Rotation schedules must be followed as directed, including the 30 minute check in time from event to event. The only exception would be 1 hour for lunch and can only be used after beginning the first rotation.
  9. Competitors may ask the judge questions before the event begins, but not while judging, and it is his/her responsibility to do so. A maximum of 5 minutes to ask questions and layout tools will be given prior to starting the event. Competitors must be completely prepared to start the event before the expiration of the 5 minute setup time (i.e., material laid out; climbing gear donned). Judges will provide the competitors with a 1 minute warning prior to setup time expiring.
  10. Video footage will not be allowed to settle judging disputes.
  11. No drones are allowed at the Rodeo grounds with the exception of drones from the Rodeo host.
  12. Cheering is encouraged, but professional coaching from supporters outside individual event arenas will be controlled by immediately deducting 2 points to the competitor(s) followed by disqualification, if not stopped.
  13. All tools shall be provided by the competitor(s) unless otherwise noted on the individual event specifications.
  14. Battery powered tools are NOT allowed.
  15. All permanent connections shall be wire brushed before completing connection, or as specified for each individual event.
  16. 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.).
  17. Time will start at judge’s signal.
  18. The groundman on a team is permitted to time the event as well.
  19. Work gloves shall be worn when performing any work on the ground. A climber wearing his/her climbing gear may assist the ground man while framing material during the event; However, gaff guards must be on gaffs.
  20. Gaff guards must remain on climber’s gaff when he/she is outside of the immediate work area (10 feet from the event pole).
  21. Judging will continue until all materials are packed up and the event site is restored to the original condition.
  22. It is mandatory for all Journeyman team and Apprentice climbing events that the climbing competitors use personal fall protection 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 a 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 competitor shall not get into a position to allow for a free fall greater than 0.6 meters (2 feet).
  23. 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 17th Edition of the APPA Safety Manual Section 507.19 that the handlines be constructed of a minimum ½ inch diameter rope. The handline must be hung on the structure prior to performing any work. It is required that the handline be railroaded to the ground prior to descending the pole.
  24. 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.
  25. Competition eligibility requirements must be met.
    • All participants must be employed by an APPA member municipal utility, joint action agency, or state/regional association.
    •  A person is considered an apprentice for 4 years after he/she enters an apprentice program. A team consists of two journeyman linemen and one ground support person. This three-person team is permitted to rotate roles between events.
    • If a team member can no longer continue to participate, that individual is out of the competition for the remainder of the event. The team can then substitute a registered alternate for the missing team member. The groundman can be an alternate if he/she is a journeyman lineworker. The activation of an alternate within the team must be approved by the Journeyman Master Judge.
  26.  All Apprentices and Journeyman teams MUST bring scorebooks for a check out process before leaving the grounds at the Information Tent.

Additional General Rules for All Journeyman Events


  1. Team will supply and utilize a 10’ x 10’ (minimum) tarp to store tools and equipment on 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 simulated energized events, proper cover-up is required, NESC 2017 MAD.
  4. On climbing events, both climbers must be back on the ground before the event will be considered complete, unless otherwise noted in the individual event.
  5. Alternates are not permitted to enter the event area and must stay in the designated spectator zones. Only the three person team will be allowed to setup for the events.

INFRACTIONS: 2 and 10-point deductions

2-point deduction

  1. Lose hardhat.
  2. Wearing hardhat backwards.
  3. Not wearing safety glasses.
  4. Improper cover up – i.e., no 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*.
  9. There must be one gaff in the pole at all times when climbing the pole.
  10. Handline operation when a climber is repositioning on the pole.
  11. Performing work on any structure prior to hanging handline.
  12. Not using handline, bucket, or material bag for sending materials up and down the poles.
  13. Failure to railroad handline prior to descending pole.
  14. Misuse of tools.
  15. Misuse of insulating cover-up.
  16. Not wearing a long sleeved shirt. Sleeves can’t be pushed or rolled up.
  17. Injuries or cuts, which result in bleeding.
  18. Loss of control.
  19. Not wearing OSHA approved Lineworker’s climbing belt.
  20. Poor housekeeping**.
  21. Exceeding the mean time to complete events.
  22. Groundman not wearing work gloves.
  23. Climbers not wearing work gloves (when rubber gloves are not required) to perform work on the ground.
  24. Fall arrest system not used within manufacturer’s guidelines and/or not keeping system adjusted properly.
  25. Hanging tools on phase conductors, neutrals, crossarms or safety straps.
  26. Failure to maintain minimum approach distances as described by NESC 2017.
  27. Failure to follow event rotation schedule, unless instructed to do so by Master Judge. This includes checking in for events and staying in line. Only 1 hour is permitted for lunch and 30 minutes between events.
  28.  Being late for an event.
  29. Professional coaching from outside the event arena.
  30. Others as determined by individual event descriptions.

* Hot dogging is defined as a lineworker “being out of control.” Examples: both gaffs out of the pole at the same time, drop steps, excessive uncontrolled speed.

**Poor housekeeping is defined as not keeping the work area in an organized manner. Examples: All tools and materials on tarp; Leaving tools and materials in a manner that would cause a safety hazard.

10-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.
  4. Accidental contact with phases [with any equipment other than approved live line tools].
  5. Working opposite energized phases at the same time.
  6. Two lineworkers who share the same pole will be penalized if the second lineworker starts climbing before the first lineworker is in working position.
  7. Climber not wearing rubber gloves (in events where they are required) ground to ground.
  8. Cut-out and fall to ground. (Climber’s feet are approx. 6’ from ground level prior to fall).
  9. Ascending or descending the pole while other climber is repositioning/transitioning, working, or if the handline is being operated.
  10. Others as determined by individual event descriptions.

*The drop dead time is defined as the time at which the competitor(s) must stop and re-set the event.


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