Cleanin’ up in the corn belt
The Where am I? game can be solved, either from personal familiarity with a given town or region, by pulling out an atlas or turning to Google. By whatever means, if the clues lead to a reader emailing, and if that person offers up the fifth correct answer on the 12th of the month or thereafter, that person will be getting a call. Well… provided a contact number has been offered. That’s a make or break.
An atlas was the means employed by May game winner Jeff Lindaman of Humboldt, Iowa. Jeff is a certified system operator for an electric power co-op, Corn Belt Power Cooperative. Away from his 12-hour rotating shift, a role he shares with several contemporaries there, he’s a man inclined to actually hold a book or a tool, or to study an atlas versus resorting to the virtual. “I’m a physical sort of guy,” he explained. He found the mystery location, Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, by tracing the route of the Rio Grande River, one of the game clues. He’s all in on the search and has his own method, with no shortcuts. Because he sometimes works opposite his wife, a personal banker and the Yang to his Yin, he has time to dive into a contemplative man’s life unencumbered by household pets, children or even his wife’s company though he speaks with great respect and affection for her.
Jeff is a son of Iowa-born parents Doug and Rosie Lindaman of Ackley, Iowa. Jeff’s parents began teaching careers fresh out of college in the early ’70s. Mom Rosie stayed the course for her entire career, retiring in 2012 as both teacher and multi-school district student counselor. Doug, Jeff’s father, began as an educator but made a quantum shift when he began working for a large agricultural product business, in the feed division of United Suppliers where he worked until retirement in 2015. The down-to-earth, thoughtful parenting may have contributed to the steady guy Jeff is today.
Jeff attended the University of North Iowa from the Fall of 2000 to graduation in 2004. Next was Northwest Iowa Community College for an 11-month course “Lineman School.” During a summer break he noticed the Motorcycle Safety Foundation was using the college parking lot for their basic rider course, providing the 125cc motorcycle and asking only that participants wear boots protecting their ankles. He remembered thinking, “I’d driven tractor, but two wheels gave me a little pause.” Upon completing the course he began saving up for his first bike, a 750 Honda Shadow.
It was 2004 that Jeff was set up by mutual friends and began dating Chelsey, a Sheldon, Iowa, native. I asked why he might have been chosen for her, imagining the answer would speak to his maturity, or calm demeanor. He explained it was something else. “I don’t think I’d have ever had the nerve.” They married on 10/10 of 2010.
Upon graduation from Lineman School in December of ’05 Jeff was hired at Corn Belt Power as an apprentice lineman. September 2007 he was offered a temporary position while a co-worker, Jeremy, was serving in the military. The company sent Jeff to be trained as a Certified System Operator and in the Spring of 2008, with Jeremy returning from deployment, both men were able to hold onto their positions.
Several of Jeff’s coworkers ride and in 2011, a 2007 Street Glide caught Jeff’s eye and followed Chelsey and him home. He explained, “I just loved the way they look.”
Friend Mitch Thompson bought a Road Glide last fall and Jeff commented, “Mitch is itchin’ to get it ready to put some miles on. He likes to get after it.” The two couples enjoy riding together, Mitch and Andie out in front and Jeff and Chelsey bringing up the rear. Although Jeff’s not new to riding, this year will be his first time to Sturgis. It was Mitch’s idea and both Andie and Chelsey are up for it. Mitch is an electrician with Corn Belt Power and he and Andie live just a couple blocks away
Home is in a quiet, older Humboldt, Iowa, neighborhood. The quiet is fortunate given shift work that can sometimes find Jeff sleeping during the day. Just downhill a city block from Jeff and Chelsey’s home is the Humboldt County Fairgrounds where highly competitive teams engage in Chuckwagon Racing annually. Jeff explained, “Six thoroughbred horses are hitched to a covered wagon and four teams compete at a time with riders on horseback called Outriders.” The sound of the wagons going past the grandstand can easily be heard from Jeff and Chelsey’s hillside home.
“If I don’t have to work, I’m in the stands.”