Teams of lineman conquer their poles in New Bern

56th annual Lineman Rodeo (Merrilee Moore/NewsChannel 12)

NEW BERN, Craven County - Those wondering what those telephone poles were doing near the roundabout by the water in New Bern got their answer Thursday as the 56th annual Lineman Rodeo was held.

The competition lasted most of the day, pitting competitors from electric companies across the area against one another in four different events: The hurt man, the cross-arm change up, tie and untie and a cut out change out.

Though the teams are all trying to win, there's a sense of camaraderie that has developed over the years.

"It's fun, it's kinda like a reunion," said EJ Burcham of the High Point City team. "You come down here and see people you went to school with when they send you off to school so you get trained and stuff."

It's not just the fellow competitors that make this fun. Many of those taking part bring their whole family with them.

"It kinda touches, touches me to see families - the backbone - being here," Burcham said. "Especially little kids ... being here you know seeing their daddies do this from when they're babies and all it's awesome. My kids love it."

Thursday's competition is a regional event. The winners move on to the national competition in Bonner Springs, Kansas, in October.