Lineworkers from Northern Neck Electric Cooperative received two awards at the Annual Terex Gaff-N-Go Lineworker & Equipment Operator’s Rodeo hosted by the Virginia, Maryland, & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives on May 19th and 20th. Mitchell “PJ” Hackett, Martin Pinon, and Will Schools finished second in the bucket truck rescue category. Craig Loving, Davin Brann, and Shawn Coates finished third in the digger derrick obstacle course. The name Gaff-n-Go refers to the "gaff," a metal spike that lineworkers attach to their boots to help in climbing wooden utility poles.
The annual lineworker rodeo was held at Meadow Event Park in Doswell, VA, and features several events designed to help electric line personnel improve their skills in safe and efficient ways. This year’s rodeo had over 200 lineworkers participating, including some from as far away as California.
Events included CPR, climbing skills obstacle course, hurt man rescue, transformer change, insulator change out, and others. The events simulate real-world challenges and conditions that lineworkers encounter in their dangerous work.
The bucket truck team from Northern Neck Electric Cooperative was the second-best team out of 20 in the bucket rescue event. In this exercise, the team must work together to rescue an “unresponsive dummy” from the bucket and administer aid.
The digger derrick obstacle course team finished third. In this exercise, the team must maneuver a suspended load through an obstacle course.
“Our mission with the rodeo is to inspire a culture of safety.” said Blaine Salmans, manager of safety and security for Northern Neck Electric Cooperative and one of the judges at the rodeo. “I couldn’t be prouder of each of them and their shared commitment to safety.”
Gena Boarman competed individually in the apprentice category. She scored in the top 30 for the hurt man rescue event.
“Our lineworkers are well trained, dedicated, and hard-working,” said Bobby Franklin, line superintendent for Northern Neck Electric Cooperative. “They continue to prove that they are some of the best lineworkers in the state.”