A beautiful, sunny weekend greeted thousands from across the country at the 19th annual Gaff-n-Go Lineworker Rodeo, held May 19-20 at Meadow Event Park in Doswell. Competing in the event, which was hosted by the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives, were 200 lineworkers, including a record 107 apprentices, from seven states.
The Gaff-n-Go is a series of competitive events that enable lineworkers to showcase the skills and safe work practices they utilize daily to keep their power on. By participating in the rodeo, journeyman lineworkers and apprentices can connect with, and learn from, other teams of lineworkers from around the region.
Lucas Wilmoth, an apprentice line technician with Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative, placed second in the hurtman rescue competition. Also participating in the Apprenticeship Competition were Kirkland Finch and Matthew Mitchell. Competing in the Journeyman Competition were Mitch DeJarnette, BJ Hensley, and Brad Snead. Serving as judges were Joe Hostetter, Matt Shaw, Blake Hutcherson, Wayne Shrader, and Craig Phelps. Clint Card, MEC manager of district operations, served as a Gaff-n-Go chief judge and one of the event’s organizers.
“The rodeo showcases the skills of line crews who work through all types of conditions to ‘keep the lights on,’ and Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative was well-represented by all of our participants,” said Card. “These young men got out there and showed their dedication and can-do spirit. We’re proud of them all.”
“The Gaff-n-Go Lineworker Rodeo promotes safety and teamwork, with a strong emphasis on safety and utilizing best practice procedures,” said John Lee, MEC president and CEO. “This event emphasizes working safely while instilling tremendous pride in our men regarding the service they provide to our Members. MEC has a proud legacy of highly capable line crews, from a safety perspective, from a competency standpoint, and from a don’t-stop-until-the-job-is-done approach. We are very proud of our lineworkers and their discipline, capabilities, teamwork, and confidence in one another.”