Local ready to toe the line

  • NH Eversource lineman Lucas Preiser, 25, of Jaffrey trains in Hooksett recently for the “hurt man rescue event” he will be competing in at the International Lineman’s Rodeo in Overland Park, Kansas, this weekend.  Courtesy Photo

  • Eversource lineman train in Hooksett recently for the International Lineman’s Rodeo taking place in Overland Park, Kansas, this weekend. Courtesy Photo© 2018 Eversource Energy

  • Derry lineworker Keith Macneil, right, who is completing on an NH Eversource journeyman team in the International Lineman’s Rodeo in Overland Park, Kansas, this weekend, coaches Lucas Preiser, 25, of Jaffrey in Hooksett recently, who will be competing on NH Eversource’s apprentice team. Courtesy Photo© 2018 Eversource Energy

  • Eversource lineman Lucas Preiser, 25, of Jaffrey works on the electrical line behind the Monadnock Community Plaza last week. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • Eversource lineman Lucas Preiser, 25, of Jaffrey works on the electrical line behind the Monadnock Community Plaza last week. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce

  • Eversource lineman Lucas Preiser, 25, of Jaffrey works on the electrical line behind the Monadnock Community Plaza last week. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce

Monadnock Ledger Transcript
Published: 10/11/2018 10:49:56 AM

Jaffrey man Lucas Preiser is joining thousands of fellow linemen in Overland Park, Kansas, this week to compete in events such as the speed climb, the hurt man and the mystery event at the International Lineman’s Rodeo.

“It’s a fun thing to do for the industry,” said 25-year-old Preiser of Jaffrey, who is a Peterborough-based Eversource lineman.

Preiser’s favorite competition in the lineman rodeo is the mystery event, he said. “I like that one because you can’t really practice for it. It’s just you and your skill.”

His least favorite is the speed competition, in which linemen race up and down a pole carrying an egg in a basket on the way up and then with the egg in their mouth on the way down.

“I’m not really a speed climber. I’m more of a go up there and do my job up there,” kind of guy, he said.

However, in the speed climb, you can be the fastest and not win because you make technical mistakes, he said.

“If you crack your egg – most guys windup throwing up if they crack the egg, cause it’s hot and gross – but if you crack the egg you get a deduction,” he said. “It’s harder than it sounds, cause that egg is bigger than you think.”

He is also competing in the hurt man rescue, which involves climbing up a pole to rescue a 150 pound dummy.

“Picture you’re out in the right-of-way, somewhere in the middle of the woods. You’ve got to climb a pole. So it’s you and one other guy. So if something happens to you when you are out on the pole you need a way to get that guy off the pole. So the hurt man is actually the second guy climbing the pole to get the other man down.”

This will be Preiser’s first International Lineman’s Rodeo. He is competing on a NH Eversource team of apprentices comprised of himself and line workers – Luke Bowley, out of Keene, and Bryan Larson, out of Newport. The apprentice team won their spot competing at an Eversource lineman rodeo in Connecticut this August. Teams from New Hampshire competed with teams from Massachusetts and Connecticut Eversource.

“What we do is take the top teams from each state as a result of that competition that then head out to the rodeo in Kansas,” said Doug Frazier, managing director of regional operations for NH Eversource’s southern region.

Frazier is the coordinator for the New Hampshire teams and lead on the tri-state steering committee that over see all three Eversource company rodeo teams.

This will be the fifth year New Hampshire Eversource is competing in the International Lineman Rodeo. Frazier said participating in the rodeos are so beneficial to Eversource because it keeps their linemen on their toes when they train and compete for the rodeos. The competitions also improve their skill level not only through the training and competing, but also by being able to observe linemen from all over the world compete. Additionally, the linemen also attend an industry expo at the rodeo of the latest lineman equipment that they may very well be using in the field in a few years.

“I think first and foremost there’s certainly an actual camaraderie that takes place both within our Eversource crews both in New Hampshire as well as throughout the three states. That’s one of the great advantages of doing it,” Frazier said. “As we work storm restorations we have crews come up to New Hampshire and help out. And the number of storms we had this past winter and in previous years – we develop those relationships and now we start to see these individuals, who are involved with the rodeo, who come up to assist us during storm restoration. And we already have a relationship with them so it makes it easier to transition into the work portion of it. We already have a relationship, we speak the same language, and they are able to help us quite a bit more right out of the gate.”

Also competing for NH Eversource this week is an experienced team of line workers – Jason Miller based out of the Keene office and Andrew Greco, Anthony Magistro, and Daniel Wilkins, who are based out of Newport.

Preiser is categorized by the rodeo as an apprentice based on his years in the field.

Originally from Long Island, New York, he has been working as a lineman for the past five years and as a lineman for Eversource in New Hampshire for the past year. He is based out of the Peterborough Eversource office.

“I’ve always been a hands on kind of guy,” Preiser said. “I wanted to find a job where I could be outside and work with my hands.”

Training for the rodeo keeps his skills sharp for the kind of storm events linemen need to be ever ready for, which is one of the reasons Preiser likes his work. “Definitely better to be busy than just sitting around.”

A good example, he said, was this summer’s big summer rain storm.

“They held us after work cause the storm was coming through 4 o’clock or so,” Preiser said. “So we’re driving through Jaffrey and we got our first call in Swanzey. As we’re driving to Swanzey the sky just got dark and all of a sudden it’s pouring rain. It got pretty intense. So now we’re in Swanzey, we’ve got wires burning on the ground, we’ve got people trapped in cars. And this is going on all over the place. And it’s just me and another guy in the truck and you’ve got the fire department there and the police there, so it’s actually kind of exciting. You’re not bored.”

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