Judging for the Rodeo is based on rules adopted by the Rodeo and its Committee.  All OSHA Regulations pertaining to 29 CFR 1910.269 shall be followed unless otherwise noted.    

Participant Questions – Day Before the Rodeo:
Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions pertaining to specific events to the judges following the Apprentice Division Written Test on Friday, March 25, 2022.  All questions should be brought to this Q&A session.  Event-specific questions will not be answered prior to this date.  

Participant Questions – Day of the Rodeo:
Participants may ask the judges questions before the event begins, but not while they are judging.  They may ask the judge to clarify any questions they have before the events begin. This time for Q&A shall be done during the 5-minute set-up time.  It is the participant’s responsibility to ask the questions.

Contesting a Call 
The team or apprentice must be the one to protest a call. Help from spectators in a protest will result in the team or apprentice being disqualified.  No team or apprentice will be allowed to protest against another competitor.  In the event a call is contested, the team or apprentice must make the event judge aware that they want to contest the call.  From this point, the team or apprentice and the event judge must inform the Chief Judge for the event that a call is contested.  This must be done before leaving the event. The Chief Judge will try to settle the dispute.  If the Chief Judge upholds the event judges' ruling the team forfeits two additional points on top of the points already being deducted.  If unable to settle the dispute with the Chief Judge at the event, the team may elect to take the protest to the Master Judge. If the Master Judge upholds the Chief Judge ruling the team forfeits an additional two points on top of the previous deductions. 

Video footage will not be allowed to settle judging disputes.

Exceeding Mean Time & Drop-Dead Time
Exceeding the designated mean time for each event will result in a 2-point deduction. If the team or apprentice exceeds the drop-dead time, the result will be a 10-point deduction on top of the 2-point deduction for exceeding the mean time.  The Event Judge will inform the participant(s) that the drop-dead time has been exceeded and time will be stopped.  The participant(s) must then place the event back to its original state. 

Contestant material/tool carts will not be allowed in the event circle. The event circle will be clearly marked 

Each contestant needs to bring his own hooks, belt, hard hat (ANSI Approved and Stamped Z89.1), safety glasses (ANSI Approved and Stamped Z87.1), long-sleeved shirt, hand tools, work gloves (company approved), Class 2 rubber gloves (minimum) with protectors, hand lines, hood bag and line hose bags, shotgun sticks (shall be a length of 8’), and extendo sticks.

Manufactured rope lanyards/safety straps will be allowed. All rope lanyard/safety straps must have ANSI or other approval tags attached. All other rules will apply to these safety straps (no modifications, worn/damaged, etc.).

Hard hats (western-style hard hats and helicopter/mountain climbing style hard hats will not be permitted at the rodeo) and safety glasses are required for all participants once inside the roped-off sections of all rodeo events. Work gloves are not required while putting on climbing gear.  All other times, work gloves are required while work is being performed.

The Mystery Events tools will either be provided by the SCLR or teams and apprentices will be furnished with a list of tools needed.

  1. All teams must use an industry-recognized manufactured handline block and hook. NO homemade or altered handline blocks or hooks will be allowed to be used at the rodeo. If the integrity or compliance of a hand line block or hook is questioned the event judge has the right to evaluate the handline, block, and hook. The handline must be a minimum of ½” in diameter. Handlines must be hung around the pole/crossarm and shall not be suspended from any pole hardware.
  2. The designated work area for all events will be a 10-foot radius around the pole and a tarp will be utilized in required events (tarp will be provided). 
  3. Any special tools required for mystery events will be provided and must be used unless otherwise noted. 
  4. In the Hurt Man Rescue events for both Journeymen and Apprentices 3” PVC conduit will be used to measure between the rope and the mannequin to evaluate the knot. 
  5. No battery-operated tools will be allowed other than those provided by the South Carolina Lineman’s Rodeo. 
  6. Altered tools or equipment cannot be used at the SCLR competition. Final determination of altered tools will be made by the Event Judge and/or Chief Judge.  Zip ties (tie wraps, nylon ties) may be used to attach tool pouches to the climbing belt and are not considered a modification. 
  7. Contestants will be disqualified if found with fingers cut out of rubber gloves, or altered in any way, at any time on the rodeo grounds, no warning will be given. 
  8. Before the start of each event, a tool inspection may be performed by the Event Judge, prior to set-up time, to check for safe operating conditions and alterations.  The penalty for altered tools will be 2 to 10 points or disqualification for each infraction as determined by the Event Judge at each event.
  9. Proper rigging techniques while using approved hardware shall always be observed unless otherwise noted in the event description.
  10. Meters used for testing do not have to be functional.

Alterations or unsafe conditions that may result in deductions are as follows: 

  • Tape may only be used for tool or equipment identification.  All other uses are considered alterations and may result in deductions. 
  • Tapered cuts on straps. 
  • Buckles filed. 
  • Elongated holes in straps and belts. 
  • Improper gaff length. 
  • Fingers cut out of gloves. (Disqualification) 
  • Rubber gloves will be inspected at each Journeyman climbing event and/or Apprentice event (where applicable). 
  • Velcro straps on climbers must be used as manufactured. No modifications, such as cutting the Velcro shorter. In general, no tool modifications are allowed. 
  • Keepers removed from safety strap
    This is not an all-inclusive list of items that may result in deductions. The Chief Judge for each event will determine if points will be deducted for other alterations, modifications or unsafe tools.


Infractions are deducted from a total score of 100.  The goal of each participant or team should be to obtain a perfect score of 100 on each event.  Time is kept on each event.  Time will be used to break ties within the scoring.  The SCLR judging committee reserves the right to ensure that the proper points are deducted for infractions, in an effort to keep the event as fair as possible. 

Infraction Definitions 

The following are definitions for the infractions listed on the score sheets used at the South Carolina Lineman’s Rodeo.  These are the most common infractions.  Only those infractions relating to each particular event will be on that event's score sheet. 
Example: Infractions for sticking events are different from gloving events, so there will not be any gloving infractions listed on sticking events etc. 

The list of infractions consists of four categories: 

  • General Infractions: 
    (These are the most common occurring infractions. The infractions that relate to individual events will be listed on that event score sheet.) 
  • Other Infractions: 
    These infractions will not be listed on the score sheets. They will be indicated as infractions under the “OTHER” section of the score sheet, with a brief notation of the infraction. The reason that we are not listing these on the score sheet is that these infractions only occur occasionally and do not warrant individual listing on the score sheet. 
  • Sticking Infractions: 
    These infractions will be for hot sticks and the proper use and will be added to the general infractions for the sticking event.
  • Gloving Infractions: 
    These infractions will be for the proper use of gloving procedures and will be added to the general infractions for the gloving events. 

General Infractions – Two Point Infractions 

  1. Failure to cover neutral, secondary or primary properly 
    All potentially energized conductors must be fully covered with protective cover, when within reach, fall or slip of energized conductor. 
  2. Failure to maintain positive control of conductor while performing task
    When moving conductors at least two points of control must be maintained. 
  3. Climber working or hand line operation on pole while other man is un-safetied 
    No work, hand line operation or climbing while either climber is ascending or descending the pole or un-safetied. 
  4. Fall Restraint / Secondary Safety Strap Infraction 
    Fall Restraint Use - The South Carolina Lineman’s Rodeo’s commitment to safety acknowledges the proper use of the manufacturer’s suggested operation of all fall restraint in addition to the contestants' required company’s policy concerning climbing with a fall restraint device. It is the contestant’s responsibility to operate all fall restraint devices as recommended by the manufacturer or their company’s work policy. It is not the intent of the rodeo to become fall restraint authorities, but to promote safe work habits for our contestants and the utility industry.
  • It is mandatory for Journeyman Team and Apprentice climbing events that the climbing competitors use personal fall restraint systems.  Fall restraint systems shall be supplied by the competitor and be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications and properly adjusted, along with the use of a secondary work positioning strap/lanyard while transitioning around attachments on a pole (the use of two fall restraint devices will not be permitted).  While using the secondary positioning strap/lanyard, the competitor shall not get into a position to allow for a free fall greater than 0.6 meter (2 feet).
  • Competitors will be allowed to affix the Fall Restraint Belt to the pole during the set-up time.
  • Manufactured rope lanyards/safety straps will be allowed. All rope lanyard/safety straps must have ANSI or other approval tags attached. All other rules will apply to these safety straps (no modifications, worn/damaged etc.). 
  • Secondary Safety strap must always be in control.  All snaps of safety must be secured only to the belt or break-away hook at all times, unless the individual is transferring over an object.

5. Improper hand line operation
The lines of the hand line must not be twisted while raising or lowering tools or material. The hand line may be hung above the neutral before cover-up only if there are no secondary conductors to reach over and the uncovered neutral is not touched by any part of the hand line.  Hand lines must be hung around the pole or crossarm and shall not be suspended from any pole hardware.

6. Dropping tools or materials from pole 
Climbers cannot drop tools or materials from the pole. 

7. Misuse of tools or the use of the wrong tool 
Tools must be used for their intended purpose and not altered from the manufacturer's specifications.

8. Poor cooperation/communication between team members 
Arguing or otherwise displaying discontent with other team members resulting in poor communication. 

9. Extended body contact with covered neutral
The body cannot have more than brush contact with the covered neutral.

10. Failure to maintain proper clearance from energized conductors or parts 
Journeyman and Apprentice must maintain proper clearance from exposed energized primary conductors or parts with all parts of the body except the rubber-gloved hand. This would include any un-insulated tools attached to the energized primary conductor. Proper clearance is defined as within reach fall of exposed energized conductors. 

11. 2 Point Deduction for each cutout or slip on pole
Cutout or slip is defined as “after the individuals gaff makes initial contact with the pole and the gaff comes out of the pole in such a manner that the climber adjusts control while ascending, descending or repositioning on the pole." 

12. Failure to keep tools and materials on the tarp 
All tools and materials must be completely on the tarp. ( 2 point deduction when time stops if all tools and equipment are not on the tarp). 

13. Failure to wear a hard hat properly at all times (not backward) 
Hardhats must be worn with a visor over the face and not over the neck. Hard hats that are improperly adjusted and are having to be continually repositioned causing participants a distraction affecting concentration on the event, is an infraction. 

14. Failure to wear long sleeve shirt, sleeves down and buttoned 
Long sleeve shirts are required. If the shirt has buttons on the sleeve, it must be buttoned. Sleeves cannot be pushed or rolled up. 

15. Failure to wear work gloves, when work gloves are required
The groundman must wear work gloves at all times while he is performing work or handling tools or materials. 
Journeyman and Apprentices must wear work gloves under the same circumstances as the groundman while on the ground. 
Journeyman and Apprentices must wear work gloves while on the pole except when rubber gloves are required.  

16. Dropping or losing hard hat (any team member) 
Hard hats must be worn at all times while inside the event area. This applies to all team members or apprentices. 

17. Hanging tools or materials on structure, conductor, hand line or safety strap 
Tools or materials can only be hung on the hand line or in tool bags hung on the hand line, unless otherwise mentioned per the event description. No tools or materials shall be hung on the structure or conductor.

18. Poor housekeeping
Tools or materials are placed on the tarp in a pile or directly under workman on the pole. 

19. Exceeding the Mean Time 
The mean time is established for each event, exceeding this mean time results in a 2 point infraction. 

Other Two Point Infractions: 
Infractions that have a low occurrence are listed below:

  1. Hooks/gaffs shall not be worn outside the work area and should be covered with approved gaff guards when not in use. 
  2. Climbers doing ground work inside the event circle without gaff guards on.
  3. Material or tools shall not be placed in the contestant’s mouth. 
  4. Improper hand line procedure
    The first man up the pole should take the hand line and the last man on the pole below the neutral shall railroad the handline or bring it down during their descent.  Any other order will be an infraction. 
  5. Not wearing safety glasses 
    All participants need to wear safety glasses while inside the event area. 
  6. Hot-dogging 
    Hot-dogging is defined as having both hooks out of the pole while descending the pole, while periodically catching one gaff as to be almost out of control.  THE DESCENT MUST BE CONTROLLED.
  7. Not wearing ANSI approved lineman belt 
    All lineman belts must have the ANSI-approved identification tag to be accepted for use in competition at the SCLR. 
  8. Exposed blade on skinning knife 
    All skinning knives must either be folded or properly sheathed while not in use. Exposed blade in a ditty bag or a tool pouch on the climbing belt is considered a misuse of tools. (No exposed blades) 
  9. Failure to inspect rubber gloves 
    Rubber gloves must be inspected before each event during the 5-minute setup time. 
  10. Improper storage of rubber gloves 
    Rubber gloves must be stored cuff down in a glove bag. 
  11. Improper use of glove/sleeve bag 
    Glove/sleeve bag cannot be used to hold tools, material or wire. 

Sticking Infractions 
General - Two Point Infractions: 

  1. Encroachment into Minimum Approach Distance for 15kV (7200/12470) = 2’ 2”
    Any time the hand (gloved or rubber-gloved) extends into the safe MAD while operating a hot-line stick during energized work.  Sticks will be marked by the Event Judge with a piece of electrical tape prior to the event set-up time.  The stick will be marked at a distance of 2’ 2” from the working end of the stick that will make contact with the energized conductor.  Marking the stick with electrical tape ensures fair judgment in the determination of the MAD while stick operation is performed.

Gloving Infractions
General - Two Point Infractions: 

  1. Failure to wear rubber gloves ground to ground and lock to lock
    Journeyman and/or Apprentices must wear minimum Class 2 rubber gloves from ground to ground or lock to lock on rubber gloving events. 
  2. Failure to have two journeymen up the pole while primary gloving is performed 
    At the SCLR we require three-man teams and two journeymen up the pole while gloving primary voltages.

Ten Point Infractions

  1. Accidental contact with phases (with any equipment other than rated and approved live line tools).
  2. Working opposite phases at the same time (simulated energized events).
  3. Not using a hand-line, line hose bag, material bag, for sending tools or materials up or down the pole.
  4. More than one climber ascending or descending at the same time.
  5. Failure to wear gloves ground to ground or lock to lock.
  6. Cut out, which results in a fall to the ground or fall-restraint belt catching climber’s weight.
  7. Exceeding the drop-dead time on any event.
  8. Alterations to manufactured tools or equipment.
  9. Others as determined by the individual event descriptions.


  1. Unprofessional behavior 
    Pushing, shoving or hitting other team members, contestants or judges. Swearing or threatening other team members, contestants or judges. Throwing tools or materials in anger or disgust before, during or after the event. 
  2. Practicing on the Rodeo field prior to the Rodeo 
    No one is permitted to practice on any of the event structures at the rodeo grounds prior to the rodeo event. 
  3. Intentional sabotage or tampering with materials, tools, or equipment on the rodeo field 
    Anyone tampering with or seeking to hamper the use of tools to be used by succeeding participants will be disqualified. 
  4. Unapproved use of alternates or changing status of team members during the events 
    (See Master Judge for approved use of alternates or change in team status during rodeo.) Switching out team members without going through proper substitution procedures will result in disqualification. Please refer to the Team Member Substitution Procedure.
  5. Judge is disqualified for judging a team from his own company (Team receives 0 for the event) 
    If you judge a team from your company the team receives a 0 for the event and you will be disqualified as a judge. 
  6. Protests need to be made by participant(s) only (No help from spectators or others.) 
    Protests from those other than the participant(s) will result in the participant(s) being disqualified. All protests must be made to the Chief Judge of the event before the participant(s) leaves the event. 
  7. Modifying rubber gloves in any way 
    No holes, notches, cuts or slashes in any part of rubber gloves. 
  8. If attendees break the law or have other inappropriate behavior, either on or off the field of competition (example: destroying or damaging property at host hotels), they will be barred/disqualified from participating in the rodeo and all rodeo events. 
SC Lineman's Rodeo