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Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative Line Workers Take Part in Regional Rodeo

Date: March 30, 2015                                                         For Immediate Release

click here to  view Gaff-N-Go 2015 Gallery                         



(CHASE CITY)  Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative (MEC) employees competed in and provided needed support for the 13th Annual Gaff-n-Go Lineman’s Rodeo and Terex Equipment Operator’s Rodeo at the Caroline County Fairgrounds in Ruther Glen, Va. The March 27 and 28 event was hosted by the Virginia, Maryland and Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives (VMDAEC).


Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative line workers are among 225 line personnel
from Virginia and six other states who gathered at Ruther Glen for the
13th Annual Gaff ‘n Go Rodeo competition on Saturday, March 28.


In the equipment operator’s rodeo, MEC’s journeyman team of Mark Bandy, Paul Underwood and Brad Clark placed first in the Bucket Rescue event. The following day Jason Holley finished second in the apprentice lineman’s written test and finished second overall out of a record 55 competitors. MEC’s journeyman team of Jamie Walden, Matthew Doss and Jonathan Guynes placed third out of 37 teams in the Hurt Man Rescue event and placed third as Overall Journeyman Team.


Outstanding performances were also displayed by MEC’s journeyman team of Craig Phelps, Andy Epperson, and David Holloway and apprentices Adam Brewer, Dustin Foley and Chadd Harding.

Robert Lankford and Randy Whirley served as coaches.


Qualified volunteers from participating utilities judged each event, and MEC employees Clint Card, Blake Hutcherson, B.J. Seamans and Nelson Smith lent their expertise as judges for various rodeo events. Having competed in numerous similar rodeos, including the International Lineman’s Rodeo in Kansas City, Card put his experience to work and also served as this year’s Gaff-n-Go master judge with exceptional success. Retired MEC employees W. R. Creedle and David Jackson joined MEC Safety Director Ron Campbell in volunteering to judge events as well.

Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative linemen win First Place in the
Bucket Rescue event in the 2015 Terex Equipment Operator Competition
held in Ruther Glen.  Pictured above at the awards presentation are
(from left) Curtis Schools of Terex;  Mark Bandy, lineman/serviceman at
MEC’s Gretna district; Brad Clark, equipment operator at MEC’s Chase City
district; Paul Underwood, lineman/serviceman at MEC’s Chase City
district; and Gene Nuckols of Terex.



Over 150 utility workers from seven states took part in the two-day competition. The only event of its type in the Mid-Atlantic region, the Gaff-n-Go Lineman’s Rodeo offers professional linemen the opportunity to demonstrate their technical skills as they perform designated electric line work tasks. Their performances are timed and scored, with safe work practices the most important factor in judging.


MEC president & CEO John C. Lee, Jr., who also serves as the event’s committee chairman, says, “The Gaff-n-Go Lineman’s Rodeo and Equipment Operator’s Rodeo promote safety and teamwork. It is simply impressive to watch these men work...and it’s impossible to understand the talent showcased in this event until you are there and see it firsthand.” He continued by saying, “Every day the work performed by our line personnel to ‘keep the lights on’ for our members is inherently dangerous, and even deadly, when performed improperly. Despite working in all types of weather to restore service, MEC linemen have maintained an outstanding record of safety; a record of which I am both proud and thankful. In fact we are nearing the 800,000 man hours worked without a lost time accident mark, covering a three and one-half year period.”


“Our linemen and ground men represented our organization with class and professionalism and more than held their own versus the best of the best line crews and apprentices from utilities large and small and from all over the east,” Lee stated, adding “Our members would be very proud of how they competed….I certainly am.”


Pictured at the Gaff ‘n Go Rodeo Awards banquet, Jason Holley, apprentice lineman
for Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative (center), wins Second Place for the Apprentice
Written Test leading to his Second Place finish as Overall Apprentice. Pictured with
Holley are rodeo representatives  C. T. Bryant of Central Virginia Electric
Cooperative (left) and Maxie Rozell of Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (right).

Journeyman Linemen from Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative’s Gretna district
are among 30 teams competing at the 2015 Gaff ‘n Go Rodeo and win Third Place
in the Hurt Man Rescue and most impressively finish Third Place Overall. Pictured
are (from left) C. T. Bryant, rodeo working group co-chair; Jonathan Guynes,
MEC ground technician; Jamie Walden, MEC lineman/serviceman; Matthew Doss,
MEC lineman/serviceman; and Maxie Rozll, rodeo working group co-chair.

Linemen execute the tasks at the Gaff ‘n Go Lineman’s Rodeo that they
perform each day on the job with Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative. Friends
and family members get a better understanding of this demanding  job.
Pictured above, Chadd Harding tediously opens a fused cut-out with perfection.


About Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative: Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative is the not-for-profit energy provider to over 31,000 meters located in portions of the Virginia counties of Brunswick, Charlotte, Greensville, Halifax, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Pittsylvania, Southampton and Sussex counties and the North Carolina counties of Granville, Person, Northampton, Vance and Warren. It is a Touchstone Energy Cooperative, headquartered in Chase City with district offices in Gretna, Emporia, and Chase City. This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


About VMDAEC: Founded in 1944, the Virginia, Maryland and Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives is the trade association for 15 consumer-owned not-for-profit electric distribution cooperatives that serve Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. The Glen Allen, Va.-based Association provides its member cooperatives with employee, director and safety education and training, government relations and legislative support, and communications services, including the publishing of Cooperative Living magazine. For more information, visit www.vmdaec.com.






This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer

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