Though not common, flying trampolines aren’t unheard of to employees of West River Electric Association, based in Wall, SD.
For everyone else, however, the sight of a trampoline draped atop a 35-foot-tall distribution pole is a unique sight.
Wind gusts of more than 70 miles per hour Oct. 18 lifted a trampoline into the sky and draped it over a distribution line and pole near Box Elder, SD, within West River Electric’s service area. Area residents reported the mid-morning power outage and linemen quickly arrived on scene to make repairs.
After ensuring the line was dead, West River Electric Lineman Tyson Gunn was lifted into the air by the bucket truck to remove the mangled trampoline. It was the first airborne trampoline incident Gunn has witnessed at the cooperative, though he heard of other instances in the past.
“It wasn’t too surprising, I guess, as hard as the wind was blowing,” Gunn says.
In about 5-10 minutes, Gunn had cut a hole in the trampoline to allow wind to pass through the canvas, lifted it over the line and let it sail back down to the ground.
West River Electric personnel posted a photo of the suspended trampoline on the cooperative’s Facebook page Oct. 18, and it was an immediate hit. As of Oct. 22, more than 5,400 people had commented on, “liked” or “shared” the photo. More than 8,000 new visitors to the page clicked on the photo, which helped lead to a 31.8 percent boost in total “likes” on West River Electric’s Facebook page. The page saw a 303.4 percent bump in people who clicked on something on the page.
“We have never had a post like that before. We have had outage ones, etc., but not one like this,” West River Electric CEO/General Manager Dick Johnson says. “Of course we have been fortunate enough to not have any large storm-related outages where we used Facebook to post and saw any results.”
West River Electric is a Class C member of Basin Electric in District 7, Rushmore Electric.