About 120 Powerline Technician students took part in the 3rd annual Powerline Rodeo held in a power pole-packed field just off St. Clair's Thames Campus on Wednesday and Thursday.
"What they're doing is using the skills they've learned and demonstrating and competing," said Gary Keith, Coordinator of the program.
The two-day event features 13 competitions that the teams of students compete in, including a Relay Climb, where team members take turns climbing 60-foot power poles as fast as they can.
On the second day of the event, prospective employers and members of the public come out to witness the students continue to compete.
"They'll hire some of our grads, and they ask beforehand who they should be watching," said Keith about the employers who attend, which included Enwin and Hydro One.
The event is almost like a practical job fair for the powerline industry, which is a rare opportunity that second-year student Ryan Fitch says he appreciates.
"The first year we did this, Gary told us it's like a two-year interview," said Fitch, who is PAC Representative for his fellow second-year students. "It gives employers a feel for how we're coming along in the program and progressing with our skills."
Keith said other exciting competitions included rescuing training dummies from the top of powerline poles, operating a crane to drop a weighted load on a target without being able to see the target and only being able to reach it through non-verbal instruction from a partner, or an exciting competition involving partners transferring an egg at the top of a powerline pole then climbing down the pole with the egg in their mouths – without cracking the egg at all.
"Being outdoors doing what we love to do is really fun, and everyone's involved so that's nice," said Fitch. "It's just a great opportunity to get to see the employers and talk to them and for them to get to interview us in a more hands-on way."