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HELCO lineman line up for rodeo (Feb. 23)

MEDIA RELEASE

The county announces Makaeo Beach Park will host the first Hawaii Lineman’s Rodeo, which is a free event to be held Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Kailua-Kona facility.

A friendly competition among more than 40 mainland and local teams of electric utility professionals and contractors, the rodeo highlights safety, skill and education in overhead electric work.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies, which includes Hawaii Electric Light Co., and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1260 are sponsoring the drug- and alcohol-free Hawaii Lineman’s Rodeo.

The event will support Toys For Tots and the Hawaii Food Basket, with a donated canned item, new toy or small donation per child earning unlimited rides in the event’s Kids Zone.

HELCO will hire contractors to install fencing and prepare a surface of sand and wood chips to create a competition arena located away from park amenities. Next, they will erect 75 utility poles for the estimated 125 competitors to use.

“Working with the County of Hawaii Parks Department, HELCO plans to leave the park in better shape than we found it, with improvements to be enjoyed by future park users,” company President Jay Ignacio said.

Once the competition has ended, the poles will be donated to the Department of Parks and Recreation for use in enhancing Maka‘eo Beach Park.

“This is a win-win-win situation,” Deputy Parks Director Bob Fitzgerald said. “We’re bringing in a whole bunch of visitors to Hawaii Island, providing free public entertainment and recreation, and improving Makaeo at little cost to the taxpayers.”

Parks officials consulted with cultural descendants of the area, canoe clubs that use Makaeo and other community stakeholders before approving the competition and related park improvements.

Holes drilled for the poles will not impact any cultural resources, while the park will remain open during the Feb. 23 event.

For further information, contact Jason Armstrong at 345-9105, or jarmstrong@co.hawaii.hi.us

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