Rodeo Rules

The Montana Lineman's Rodeo has established the following scoring rules to provide the greatest degree of fairness, accuracy, and speed in tabulating the final results. The Rodeo Board, representing all of the groups involved in the rodeo, is the Chief Judging committee. The Board has developed these rules, and continues to refine them from time to time to insure fairness.

Our goal is fair, accurate, and consistent judging. Rules governing the Rodeo cannot cover every circumstance that may arise. Therefore, much weight is given to the Judge's determination of deductions. All decision of the master Judge are final.

Each event will have a Team Judge and the event will have an Event Judge. The Master Judge will have authority over all events, and make any final decisions on scoring.

Schedule & Score Sheet Procedure:

1. The event descriptions will be in the team registration handout. Once check-in occurs, a team number will designate each team. This team number will remain consistent throughout the event. Each team (or apprentice) will be provided with scoring sheets, which are three-part, carbonless forms. Teams will have 30 minutes following their last event to check in to the next event on their schedule. Check-in will be at the event staging area.

2. Once the team enters each event staging area, the Team Judge will complete the necessary information on the three-part scoring sheets.

3. Individual names will have to be entered on the Hurt Man and Pole Climb events for individual consideration. These sheets will be the standard three part sheets. 

4. Teams will line up in the staging area for each event. The order of the team in the line will determine their sequence in entering the event.

5. Upon entering the entrance area for each event, the team will meet with a team judge. Teams will provide the Team Judge with their scoring sheet for the particular event. The Team Judge will explain the rules for the event, and answer any questions. Teams will have five minutes to question the Team Judge concerning particulars of the event. If a team fails to ask a question concerning the event, and is later deducted for a violation, the team forfeits any right to question the deduction.

6. The Team Judge will escort the team to the station they will work. The Team Judge will notify the team when to begin the event. Timing starts and stops according to the individual event description.

7. Upon completion of the event, the Team Judge will escort the team to the exit area. The Team Judge, with the Chief Judge, will review the scoring sheet with the team. Teams will have five minutes to discuss the scoring with the Team Judge and the Event Judge. If the team believes a deduction is unwarranted, they have the right to appeal to the Master Judge. If the Master Judge upholds the decision of the Team and Event Judge, the team will receive a two-point deduction. All decisions by the Master Judge are final. Scoring sheets will be signed by a team member to signify that the scoring has been discussed with the team. The Chief Judge will also sign the scoring sheet to designate completion of the event. Any team refusing to sign the scoring sheet will be disqualified from that event. The team may question the scoring, but arguing with the judge or unsportsmanlike conduct will result in a 20-point deduction.

8. Each team will be given one copy of the three-part event form. One copy of the scoring sheet will remain with the Chief Judge. The Scorekeeper will pick up the third part of the score sheet. Once teams leave the event area, that event is considered completed and no further discussion surrounding that event will be allowed.

9. Any teams or team members interrupting the scorekeepers, or questioning the scorekeeping judge, will result in a 20-point deduction.

10. All results as determined by the scorekeeping crew are final.

11. Video footage will not be allowed to settle judging disputes.

Contesting a Call:

Each event has an Event Judge. Any team contesting a call must take it to the Events Judge for the event. The dispute must be brought to the attention of the Event Judge before the team leaves the event. The Event Judge will attempt to settle the dispute. If the Event Judge upholds the Team Judge ruling, the team forfeits two additional points. If unable to settle the dispute with the Event 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. 


Example 1: A judge calls something one way for one team and differently for another team.
Example 2: One judge calls something one way but another judge in the same event calls something differently.

Exceeding Mean Time:

As in the past, 2 points will be deducted from the team or apprentice score for exceeding the mean time. If the team or apprentice continues an additional five minutes past the mean time, the event will be stopped at that point, and the team or apprentice will have an additional 2 points deducted, for not completing the event.

Rodeo Rules:

Judging for the Rodeo is based on rules adopted by the Rodeo. Local rules and interpretations are not to be used as criteria for judging.

Registration / Team Number Scheme:

Teams must register together. All three members must sign the waiver. The packet will then be given out. It will have all the standard items such as agenda for all events and events for the team.


  • Each event is worth a total of 100 points
  • Time will be used only to break a tie
  • Total number of events for each team: 4 or 5
  • Events for apprentices: 3 or 4 + written test
  • Judges must sign score sheets
  • The first place team or apprentice winning each event will have no points added to its score. Time will be the determining factor in case of ties
  • Rule for substitution: A team consists of three persons - Two linemen and one groundsman. One person must be designated the groundsman for all events. If a man is hurt, he is out of the competition for the rest of the events, but the team can substitute an alternate man for the one hurt. The groundsman can be the alternate lineman. The alternate man can be designated as a substitute for lineman or groundsman.

Event Judges:

The Chief Judge will assign another person to check teams in and out and to give instructions. The Chief Judge is not to judge teams or point out mistakes that teams make to the Team Judge while the team is competing. The Chief Judge will be free to roam the event and watch for inconsistencies in judging and bad or unfair calls. If any of those are noticed, the Chief Judge will pull the Team Judge off to the side and point the errors out to him. If the Team Judge persists in making bad calls, he will be asked to leave the event. Judges will show respect to team members and apprentices and treat them with fairness and courtesy. High fives, smirks, and other visible inappropriate actions will not be tolerated from judges. Unfair judging and disrespect to contestants will not be tolerated. This type of behavior will result in a letter being written to management of the company involved. 

Rule for Team Judge Questions:

Participants may ask the Team Judge questions before the event begins, but not during the event. They may ask the judge to clarify any questions they have before the event starts. It is the participants' responsibility to ask the questions. If a team fails to ask a question concerning the event, and is later deducted for a violation, the team forfeits any right to question the deduction. Participants have a maximum of 5 minutes to ask questions and lay out their tools. 


Scoring will be judged for:

  • Safety
  • Work practice
  • Neatness & ability
  • Equipment handling
  • Timely completion of the event
  • Time will be used only as a tiebreaker

Infractions that Result in 10-Point Deduction:

  • Contacting a phase wire
  • Improper use of fall protection devices
  • Working opposite phases
  • Not using hand line or bucket for sending material up and down
  • Second crew member starts climbing before first is buckled off
  • Not stringing blocks properly in the apprentice slack block event
  • Unprofessional conduct

Infractions that Result in 2-Point Deduction:

  • Loose hard hats
  • Not wearing safety glasses
  • Dropping tools
  • Burnouts
  • Hot-dogging
  • Hand line operations while team is climbing, or improper hand line operation
  • Twisted or fouled hand line operation
  • Tool misuse
  • Rubber misuse
  • Wearing hard hat backwards
  • Not wearing long sleeved shirt. Long sleeved shirts are required. OSHA rules apply. Contestants should know what to use and what to wear. if shirt has buttons on the sleeves, they must be buttoned. Sleeves may not be rolled or pushed up on the arms
  • Not wearing ODHA approved Lineman's belt
  • Poor housekeeping
  • Cut strands of fibers on the rope during Hurt-Man rescue


As a result of changes in OSHA Regulations, effective April 1, 2015, fall protection devices will be REQUIRED for all persons climbing or ascending structures in this Rodeo