“Extreme jobs demand extreme characters.” That’s what the promo running for The Weather Channel’s new reality series, Turbine Cowboys, claims is true for the wind industry in the United States.
The show is part of a larger series called “Braving the Elements” that highlights the risks taken by Americans in demanding, niche industries like wind power, high-rise iron work and emergency utility repair. Premiering last night, the show chronicled two groups of workers in Idaho and Alaska facing different–but always difficult and dangerous–obstacles during the construction, repair and maintenance of wind turbines.
“Turbine Cowboy” Manny Williams said of his profession, ”We’re trying to help strengthen America by creating something renewable.” He detailed some of the challenges he faces every, like repairs performed several hundred feet in the air under the threat of frostbite from freezing temperatures.
Another turbine worker, Robin Ham, said he is motivated by the belief that his work is helping America, even though it’s a physically demanding position that many men quickly give up after only a day or two on the job.
“It’s a dangerous job,” agreed rope access tech Brent Berentson during a segment of the show. “You always have to keep that fear meter right in the middle. If you’re overconfident, mistakes happen. If you’re scared, accidents happen.”
Despite the risks associated with the work that they do, many of the turbine technicians said that they love what they do and find their jobs to be both thrilling and satisfying. Turbine Cowboys’ narrator referred to them as “industrial athletes” given the type of work they do while suspended by rope hundreds of feet in the air.
“It takes a certain mindset…to do the kind of job that we do,” Williams said. “I like the adventure, the thrill.”
For more about the show, including the episode guide and extensive video clips from the series, visit The Weather Channel’s Turbine Cowboys’ site here.