James Alexander, Sr. Technical Trainer, got OUC to donate an old trailer, and Chuck Martin, Sr. Account Manager for Altec, got his employer to pay for eight dummies and the trailer’s custom wrap.

Lineworkers competing in the 2022 Florida Lineman Competition will get a pleasant surprise when they reach the top of utility poles in the “hurtman rescue” event. The lifelike 180-pound “dummies” dangling from safety lines will be in the best shape they’ve ever been.

That’s because the dummies are new, presenting competitors with the unusual challenge of rescuing hurt men that are all in the same condition. In past competitions, teams brought their own dummies, some in worse shape than others, and used their equipment to retrieve them.

The trailer, left, carries eight dummies and an assortment of equipment that will be used in the hurtman rescue event at the FMEA Florida Lineman Competition, also known as the lineman rodeo. An OUC lineman, right, practices hurtman rescue. 

A couple years ago, James Alexander, Sr. Technical Trainer, began working on an idea to level the playing field at the lineman rodeo, as the competition is known, with uniform equipment. As master judge of the rodeo, he has a hand in planning every aspect of the competition. This year’s event will be held in Fort Pierce on Feb. 25-26.

Alexander found support for his plan among OUC leadership, who signed off on donating a trailer for storing and transporting hurtman equipment, and Altec, the supplier of OUC’s utility trucks, which agreed to purchase eight dummies, costing $16,000. Multiple members of the Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA), sponsor of the rodeo, donated other materials to be used in the hurtman contest.

In January, the 18-foot trailer got a makeover with a custom vehicle wrap proclaiming “Hurtman Rescue” in big yellow letters on one side and bold black lettering on the other. Each side shows a different view of a rescue, with the Altec logo prominently displayed. Logos of OUC and FMEA are positioned on the back (see inset photo) and front, respectively.

Chuck Martin, Sr. Account Manager for Altec, said his employer also picked up the cost of the custom wrap, adding nearly $4,000 to the company’s contribution to the project.

“We did this to support the linemen. They are the guys who use our equipment,” said Martin, who retires on April 1 after working for Altec for 32 years, all as OUC’s account representative. “The best part of my job is working with linemen. I think of them as heroes.”

The trailer’s interior resembles a highly organized walk-in closet, with four dummies hanging on each side and hollowed-out transformers, cross arms, hand lines, braces and other equipment all neatly stowed away. Altec, a Diamond Sponsor of the Lineman Competition, will store and transport the trailer.

“This hurtman rescue trailer has everything on it we need for the event. Now we don’t have to rely on everyone to bring their own dummies, and we’ll no longer have to collect materials we need to put on the event,” said Alexander.