The International Lineman's Rodeo Association (ILRA) has always been committed to and has promoted safety as the number one priority during competition. This year, the International Lineman’s Rodeo will be conducted in all fall restraint, and no free climbing will be allowed.
"This will drive safety to the next level by not allowing anyone to free fall off a pole," the ILRA stated. "This will also put everyone on a level playing field. We urge each sponsoring utility to take the responsibility of ensuring all their competitors use the fall restraint belt as directed by the manufacturer and your company policy to promote safe work habits for our competitors and the utility industry."
The ILRA is taking steps to ensure competitors use fall restraint the way the manufacturer recommends it be used to eliminate falling off the pole. The correct behavior should be to safely climb poles while following safe procedures and following manufacturer's recommendations.
1. All events for apprentices and journeymen will have a neutral added to the pole for each climber to properly transition the neutral before ascending to the top of the pole. When descending the pole, the climber will once again properly transition past the neutral.
2. To ensure climbers are adjusting their fall restraint properly, at each climbing event for apprentices or journeymen, a ring will be painted around the pole at the 6-ft mark. If the contestant cuts out from below the ring and comes to the ground, 6 ft or less, this will result in a 10-point deduction.
If after both feet pass above the 6-ft mark, the climber cuts out and comes to the ground, the journeyman team or apprentice will be disqualified from the rodeo. If after transitioning past the neutral the climber cuts out and falls to the neutral, then there will be a 10-point deduction. Any other cutout or slip will be scored as found in the infraction section.