2016 International Lineman’s Rodeo World Championship

By Virginia Limmiatis

National Grid New York and New England linemen competed recently at the 33rd Annual International Lineman’s Rodeo World Championship in Bonner Springs, Kansas. And the results were outstanding.

The World Championship attracts the best linemen from around the world to compete in events based on traditional lineman tasks and skills like Hurtman Rescue, Pole Climb, and two Mystery events. The first Lineman’s Rodeo was held in September 1984, with twelve participating teams from Kansas and Missouri. The Rodeo has grown to over 200 teams and 250 apprentices.

The journey to Kansas wasn’t an easy road for team National Grid. The linemen had to first tryout to determine who would make the roster.

Twenty four journeymen and seven apprentices from New York, and fifteen journeymen and fourteen apprentices from New England, competed in June at regional competitions at the company’s Henry Clay Boulevard, NY and Millbury, MA training centers.

The linemen were tested on speed and proficiency in the events: the Hurtman Rescue, Speed Climb, and a mystery event that was determined at the time of the tryout. The competitors with the fastest times and fewest mistakes would advance to the Big Show.

The final roster was comprised of twelve linemen each from New York and New England, and six apprentices.

Here’s how National Grid’s linemen finished out of 206 teams that competed at the World Championship:

The New York Journeymen Mike Levsha (Schenectady), Ronnie Marks (Schenectady), and Jared Wood (Clifton Park) placed 42. And Bill Hansbury, (Schenectady) Josh Barnes, (Schenectady) and Mike Burdekin, (Avon) placed 135.

The New England Journeymen Dan McDonald, (Lincoln, RI), Adam Irujo, (N. Kingstown, RI), and Peter Correia, (Lincoln, RI) placed 91. And Jason Hogue, (Hopedale, MA), Brad Creighton (Hopedale, MA), and Evan Switzer, (Attleboro, MA) placed 173.

National Grid’s apprentice team finished high in the standings out of 284 participants. They competed in an apprentice written test, Hurtman Rescue, Pole Climb, and two Mystery events.

Here are their individual standings:

Lucas Ulman, (Schenectady, NY) placed 14. Be forewarned all of you rodeo wannabes. It was a small error only that prevented Lucas from placing among the top five finalists. And this was his first year to compete. Lucas is the guy to watch next year! 

Joe Peluso, (Albany, NY) placed 32

Paul Ryan, (Albany, NY) placed 34. Paul rose in this year’s standings from having placed 139 in 2015.

Aaron Miller, (Providence, RI) placed 99

Mike Girard, (North Adams, MA) placed 104

Brandon Thomas, (Providence, RI) placed 190

It wasn’t all business for Team National Grid, they raised over $400 for the American Heart Association (totaling $800 with National Grid’s matching gift). They also raised $1,450 for the American Breast Cancer Foundation from the sale of team designed t-shirts. Local 97 donated $800 toward the cost of the shirts too.

In the end, the road to Kansas for team National Grid was not about a scoreboard, but rather a demonstration of the best of who we are as individuals, a team and a company.


Daniel Bunszell, vice president of New England Electric Operations:

“Exceptional display of teamwork.”

“Congratulations to everyone on a strong performance at the 2016 International Lineman’s Rodeo!  Everyone should be proud of how they represented themselves and National Grid. I was honored to be part of the team!”

Keith McAfee, vice president of New York Electric Operations:

“We are very proud of the professionalism all of our employees exhibit on behalf of customers day in and day out.  The annual Lineman’s Rodeo is a wonderful opportunity for our employees to showcase their talents with peers in our industry.”

The following individuals comprised Team National Grid at the 2016 International Lineman’s Rodeo:

New York:

Team 1

Bill Hansbury, Hot stick lineman, Schenectady

Josh Barnes, Hot stick, Schenectady

Mike Burdekin, Hot stick lineman, Avon


Team 2

Mike Levsha, C lineman, Schenectady

Ronnie Marks, C lineman, Schenectady

Jared Wood, OPC, Clifton Park



Paul Ryan, B-2 apprentice, Albany

Lucas Ullman, B-1 lineman, Schenectady

Joe Peluso, B-1 lineman, Albany



Derick Quackenbush, Learning and Development, Electric Operations, Albany

Steve Popps, Chief line mechanic, Beacon North

Joel Twiss, OPC, Rome


Gene Gates, Sr. Supervisor, Mohawk Valley OPC’S/ Organizer and Head of the National Grid Rodeo Teams

Josh Conway, Sr. Supervisor, Rome


New England:

Team 1

Dan McDonald, Crew Leader, Lincoln, RI

Adam Irujo, Troubleshooter, N. Kingstown, RI

Peter Correia, Line worker 1/C, Lincoln, RI


Team 2

Jason Hogue, Crew Leader, Hopedale, MA

Brad Creighton, Line worker 1/C, Hopedale, MA

Evan Switzer, Line worker 1/C, Attleboro, MA



Aaron Miller, Line worker 2/C, Providence, RI

Brandon Thomas, Line worker 2/C, Providence, RI

Mike Girard, Line worker 2/C, North Adams, MA



Gary Bourque, Lead Supervisor, Electric Ops, RI

Robert Blackburn, Sr. Supervisor, Electric Ops, Hopedale, MA

John Pena, Sr. Supervisor, Electric Ops, Hopedale, MA

John Young, Learning and Development, Electric Operations, Millbury, MA

Paul Sibley, manager, Learning and Development, Electric Operations, Millbury, MA

John Doherty, manager, Electric Operations, Western MA

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