First person(s): Still on the line

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Xcel Energy linemen Charles Lott, left, and Chris Padilla, right, have both competed in the Linemen’s Rodeo twice.

Clovis Xcel Energy linemen Chris Padilla, 26, and Charles Lott, 33, will be competing in the 19th annual Lone Star Lineman’s Rodeo Saturday at Xcel’s new Amarillo Technical Center.

The two friends said the recent stormy summer has kept them busy and away from practice but the competition showcases the work they do each day.

What is a Lineman’s Rodeo?

The event showcases and fine-tunes the skills linemen perform in the line of duty. Scoring is based on correct work procedures and safety.

Operations managers, coordinators, retirees, foremen, qualified journeymen and servicemen serve as judges. Teams compete in the Pole Climb with Raw Egg, Hurt-Man Rescue, two mystery events and a written test.

The pole climb involves a lineman climbing a pole with an egg in a canvas bucket, removing the egg and placing it in his mouth, knocking loose an existing bucket atop the pole, and descending with the unbroken egg in his mouth.

Hurt-Man Rescue scores a lineman’s ability to rescue a 165-pound, life-size dummy from atop a pole and bringing the dummy safely to the ground, secured in rescue rigging.

Mystery events are unknown events that cannot be practiced ahead of the competition, but involve everyday job and safety skills expected of a utility lineman.

What do you like about your job?

Chris: I like that I get to be home every night. I used to be a truck driver and I never used to be so that’s nice.

Charles: Only select people can do it. And we deal with big equipment and there’s danger.

Tell us about your family.

Chris: I’ve been married to my wife, Angel Padilla, for three years. My kids are Kristopher, 7, and Kylee, 13.

Charles: I’ve been married to my wife, Monica Lott, for 15 years. My sons are Peyton, 14 and Cayden, 5.

What are your hobbies?

Chris: Sports with my kids. Any sport that’s happening, they’re up for it. They both play softball, football, basketball and they want to try soccer. I also like to play video games like Call of Duty, Halo, NBA Live, Madden, DJ Hero and Guitar Hero.

Charles: Coaching football or basketball. Whatever teams my kids are on. Golf is the only other hobby I have. It’s relaxing and there’s no danger.

What do you like about the competition?

Chris: You get to be social and show your skills. People come from all over the country to do this. It’s just a social and fun thing.

Charles: I like competing with other people we know from other cities.

What is it like working during or after a storm?

Chris: It’s cold, wet, dark and muddy.

Charles: We don’t get called until after something is torn up but that doesn’t mean it’s not still storming. When it goes down, it goes down. It’s the worst case scenario every time.