Lineworkers from Northern Neck Electric Cooperative, Mitchell “PJ” Hackett, Martin Pinon, and Will Schools finished second in the bucket truck rescue category at the Annual Terex Gaff-N-Go Lineworker & Equipment Operator’s Rodeo hosted by the Virginia, Maryland, & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives on May 13th and 14th. The name Gaff-n-Go refers to the "gaff," a metal spike that linemen 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 160 lineworkers participating, including some from as far away as South Carolina and 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 team from Northern Neck Electric Cooperative was the second-best team out of 18 in the bucket rescue event. In this exercise, the team must work together to rescue an “unresponsive dummy” from the bucket and administer aid.
“In a time of crisis, every second counts,” said Blaine Salmans, manager of safety and security for Northern Neck Electric Cooperative and one of the judges at the rodeo. “I am proud of our crew for showcasing our shared commitment to safety and proving that they are some of the best lineworkers in the state.”
Gena Boarman, PJ Hackett, and Cameron Lewis competed individually in the apprentice category and each finished at least one event in the top 25% of all competitors. Overall, Cameron Lewis finished in the top 20 of all entrants.
“These apprentices represent our future, and that future at Northern Neck Electric Cooperative is bright,” said Bobby Franklin, line superintendent for Northern Neck Electric Cooperative. “All of our lineworkers showcased their resolve, their determination, and their commitment to safety. We are proud of them, and we are glad that they are on our team here at NNEC.”