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Duke Energy apprentice wins best in the world at International Lineman's Rodeo

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -

Duke Energy apprentice Joe Hyrkas proved he is best in the world at the International Lineman's Rodeo Oct. 19 in Bonner Springs, Kan.

Hyrkas, based in Huntington, Ind., also won first place in the apprentice written test and top apprentice in the investor-owned utility division.

"This is by far my greatest personal achievement," says Hyrkas, fourth year line apprentice at Duke Energy, who was also named second in the world in 2011 and 2012.

"The best part of my job is throwing on my boots and traveling outdoors from site to site each day to serve Duke Energy customers," he added. "Being rewarded for a job I enjoy in my last year competing as an apprentice makes these awards even more special."

Eight Duke Energy apprentices finished in the top 25 out of 219 competitors. An apprentice competing at the rodeo is a line worker with less than four years of utility experience.

Duke Energy's team also took home four awards in the journeyman team and senior-journeyman team divisions.

A journeyman team from Duke Energy Carolinas East finished third in the world in the overall journeyman category, second overall in the investor-owned utility division, and fourth in journeyman mystery event two. Journeyman mystery event two, revealed the day before the competition, tested teams on a polymer changeout.

The team was comprised of Joshua Greguire of Rolesville, N.C., Jeramy Wilson of Youngsville, N.C. and Mark Perkinson of Warrenton, N.C.

A Duke Energy team from Carolinas West won third place in the senior journeyman-team division. Team members were David Phillips of Huntersville, N.C., Mike Haynes of Marion, N.C. and Neal Walker of Shelby, N.C.

Four Duke Energy journeyman teams finished in the top 25 out of 210 teams. Six Duke Energy teams finished with perfect scores. A rodeo journeyman has greater than four years of utility experience and a senior-journeyman team's members must be over 45 years old.

"Our line workers are the heart of our organization," said Keith Trent, executive vice president and chief operations officer for Duke Energy's regulated utility operations. "They are the courageous individuals on the frontline keeping the lights on in the communities we serve.

"I'm proud of the Duke Energy team for bringing home seven awards at this competition honoring our line technicians, and for the dedication to their profession each and every day," Trent added.

Sixty Duke Energy line workers competed at the 30(th) annual International Lineman's Rodeo, being tested on job related-skills such as hurt-man rescues, equipment repair and pole climbs. They were judged on speed, agility, technique and safety procedures.

Line workers from Duke Energy's six-state service area, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, participated in all divisions. Final results are available, here: http://scoring.linemansrodeokc.com/results/2013/

Duke Energy linemen not only serve their communities, but often travel to other states in Duke Energy's service area and areas served by other utilities to restore power after severe weather.

Duke Energy employs more than 5,000 line workers serving seven million customers.

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