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Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative’s

Line Workers Showcase Their Skills

at the World Championship


As the 2014 International Lineman’s Rodeo
in Kansas gets underway, Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative participants view an amazing
sunrise on the grounds of the event.



(CHASE CITY) - Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative (MEC) employees Brad Clark, Jason McKinney, and Paul Underwood participated in the 2014 International Lineman’s Rodeo and Expo held in Bonner Springs, Kansas, on October 15-18. The Rodeo and Expo attracts thousands of spectators and top linemen from literally around the world to compete in events based on day-to-day power line construction and maintenance skills. The rodeo and expo events are designed to collectively showcase and enhance the skill levels of competing linemen while also promoting safe work practices -- which is MEC’s top priority.





Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative Journeyman Team participants (standing, from left) Brad Clark, Paul Underwood, and Jason McKinney and Apprentice Lineman (front row) Chadd Harding showcase their skills at the 2014 International Lineman’s Rodeo in Bonner Springs, Kansas.


Clark, McKinney, and Underwood, a team from MEC’s Chase City district, very capably represented MEC at the international event that included the best of the best line crew workers from nearly every state in the nation and several countries, including Canada, England, Philippines, Jamaica, and Ireland. The three-man team earned the right to compete in the world championship after placing first among the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives (VMDAEC) at the 2014 Gaff-n-Go Rodeo held in Ruther Glen, Va., on April 5.


Over 200 teams and 250 apprentices participated in the international event that showcases the skills and teamwork required by line crew workers to maintain the hundreds of thousands of miles of transmission and distribution lines across the country. MEC’s team scored an impressive 398 points out of 400 and placed 10th in the very competitive Electric Cooperative division, and placed 42nd overall against the 204 competing teams that included cooperatives, municipalities, investor-owned utilities, as well as military and contractor divisions.


The rodeo included four challenging journeyman team events, each earning the team a possible score of 100 points based on safety, teamwork, work practices, organization and ability, equipment handling, and timely completion of the event. Scores and events for Team MEC included 100 on the Hurt Man Rescue event, 98 on Mystery Event #1 – Bypass Splice Connector, 100 for the Pole Climb event, and 100 on Mystery Event #2 – Team Skills. The MEC team completed each of the four events under their respective mean times.  


Along with MEC’s journeyman team, second-year Apprentice Lineman Chadd Harding competed in the Apprentice division against 255 fellow apprentices from across the country and around the world. Harding, who fared well at the state Gaff-n-Go Rodeo in April, scored a combined total of 432 points out of 500 and fared particularly well in the pole climb and Mystery Event. The Apprentice competition proved extremely challenging as no participants finished with a perfect score. The participants were judged on five events including a written test, Pole Climb, Hurt Man Rescue, a CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) written and skills test, and one Mystery Event. 

Clint Card, manager of district operations for the Chase City district and judge coordinator for the VMDAEC’s Annual Gaff-n-Go Rodeo, served as a judge at the competition. MEC employees Adam Brewer, Matthew Doss, and Randy Whirley participated in the International Rodeo event as coaches for the MEC team.




At the world-wide competition, second-year Apprentice Lineman Chadd Harding skillfully completes the Hurt Man Rescue event with a perfect score of 100 in an impressive completion time of one minute and thirty-five seconds.



Atop a utility pole, MEC journeyman team members, Jason McKinney (left) and Paul Underwood, compete in Mystery Event #2 –Team Skills. They scored a perfect 100 in this and two other events at the 2014 International Lineman’s Rodeo in Bonner Springs, Kansas.


Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative’s President and CEO John Lee, who also serves as chairman of the VMDAEC Gaff-n-Go events committee, comments, “Those gathered to compete in Bonner Springs represent the best of the best from across our nation, and beyond; and our team, from a small rural electric utility in Southside Virginia, more than held their own in a series of very demanding events that challenged both mind and muscle. Jason, Paul and Brad in the Journeyman Division, and Chadd in the Apprentice Division, represented our organization with class and professionalism and proudly competed in a manner that would please those we serve…our members.”


He added, “These events emphasize, first and foremost, safety, which is job one here at MEC; but they also promote teamwork, tactical thinking, and organizational pride. All of our employees enthusiastically support our rodeo participants and this strengthens our unity and enhances company morale.  We have a strong legacy of excellent line workers and they are known near and far for their knowledge, skills and work ethic. We always make a strong showing at the Gaff-n-Go event; and, in fact, we placed third overall in the International Lineman’s Rodeo back in 2008. Our line crews take tremendous pride in their work and the quality of service we offer to our members; and win, lose, or draw, I take a great deal of pride in each of them…they are great employees and very good men.”






Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative employee and Journeyman Team participant Brad Clark carefully tosses a hand-line rope between two electric lines during one of the International Lineman’s Rodeo events.


To view event pictures, please visit MEC’s Facebook page and watch Team MEC in action at http://youtu.be/1LqEbfP88dI on MEC’s YouTube channel.


Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative is the not-for-profit consumer-owned energy provider to over 31,000 homes, farms and businesses located in portions of the counties of Brunswick, Charlotte, Greensville, Halifax, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Pittsylvania, Southampton and Sussex. It is headquartered in Chase City with district offices in Chase City, Emporia and Gretna.

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This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer

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