Lots of Drag Bags at the Airport![/caption] What a fantastic experience! My husband did not actually compete in this rodeo, as when they made up teams before leaving for Kona, he chose to be an alternate. We were able then to cheer the guys on, promote NSUJL, and take on the task of cooking a butt load of chicken for everyone. I’m talking like 20 pounds worth. Because we didn’t have a grill, my husband was able to simply dig a hole in the ground of lava rock and place our charcoal on top of the rock. We then had one of their coworkers, who lives on the Big Island, bring us a grate to lay over the pit. Instant BBQ! It was delicious!
Although I wasn’t able to acquire a legal booth in the vendor section (the entry fee was too high for our non-profit) I made due and set up my own booth right outside the vendor area! Hey, sometimes you have to bend the rules a little for a good cause, and it worked out perfectly. I had brought with me the NSUJL cookbooks, children activity books and t-shirts to sell and various brochures and stickers to hand out. I was able to get information out to many interested people, sell my entire product and raise over $500 for the sisterhood!
The rodeo sponsors treated us all really well. They hosted a welcoming luau for us on Friday night and after the rodeo, on Saturday, they had a huge awards ceremony back at the hotel. We also had a bit of free time to roam and do as we please. Many went and saw the sights, but since we are frequent visitors to Kona, we chose to use this weekend to relax and hang by the pool. My husband and the guys even got a good game of football going in the pool one afternoon!
The first annual Hawaiian rodeo had over 2000 attendants to watch the 39 high voltage journeyman lineman teams and 31 apprentices compete. The journeyman teams that won for combined events were: Team Portland General Electric (First Place), Team Southern California Edison (Second Place), and IBEW Local 1245 (Third Place). The Apprentice overall winners were: Chris Schafer (First Place), Jeffrey Furuyama (Second Place), and Austin Arit (Third Place), all from Southern California Edison. Needless to say, it was a huge success!
Working with the NSUJL organization has given me not only a sense of helping my fellow line family, but it gives me a better understanding of what this amazing trade is all about: helping each other in times of need. When it comes down to it, it seems that helping our fellow man is what we’re all about. From our lineman helping the country to keep the lights shining bright to the members of NSUJL helping grief-stricken families know that they are not in the dark. The sense of camaraderie overwhelms my heart.
When I was asked to become the Assistant Southwest Regional Director in 2012, I was elated and proud to take on the position. Traveling full time for my husband’s career as a journeyman lineman can be challenging, rewarding and I’ll admit, scary at times; but, my involvement with the NSUJL has made every new area we travel to a new opportunity for me to meet new or existing members and spread the message that NSUJL is out there, ready and willing to help when our linemen need it the most.