MEC linemen excel in regional Gaff-n-Go Rodeo events

Published 12:03 pm Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Employees from Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative (MEC) volunteered their personal time to compete and serve as judges at the 14th Annual Gaff-n-Go Lineman’s and Equipment Operator’s Rodeo, which promotes safety and teamwork.

Held June 3-4 at the Meadow Event Park in Doswell, the Gaff-n-Go Rodeo featured 150 participants from 14 different utilities in six states, according to a recent press release.

It gets its name from the gaff — or metal spike — that linemen attach to their boots to assist in climbing wooden poles.

Two MEC teams competed in Friday’s Equipment Operator’s Rodeo in a variety of challenges, with the team of Jason McKinney, Paul Underwood and T.W.

Parks placing first among 14 other teams in the transformer replacement event.

“Saturday’s events featured three-man journeyman teams as well as individual apprentice linemen performing a variety of required skills atop 40-foot utility poles. Teams performing each task in a safe and accurate manner — essentially with perfection — are then ranked according to the speed of their completion. MEC’s journeyman team of Jamie Walden, Matthew Doss and Jonathon Guynes placed third out of 20 teams in the single phase wire transfer event,” according to the release.

“MEC apprentice linemen Jason Holley, Dustin Foley and Chadd Harding competed against 44 other apprentices in five different events, including climbing skills, hurt man rescue and cross arm relocation, while MEC employees Clint Card, Joe Hostetter, Blake Hutcherson, B.J. Seamans, Brian Woods and Safety Director Ron Campbell served as volunteer judges for this year’s event.”

MEC also took top honors in the annual line crew T-shirt design contest.

“We’re proud of our Gaff-n-Go participants,” says MEC president & CEO John Lee, who chairs the Gaff-n-Go Rodeo Committee.

“These are incredibly dedicated men who often work in the worst possible weather conditions to restore power when outages occur. Line work requires mental toughness, in addition to physical strength.”

Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative (MEC) is the not-for-profit member-owned energy provider to over 31,000 homes, farms and businesses located in portions of Brunswick, Charlotte, Greensville, Halifax, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Pittsylvania, Southampton and Sussex.