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Jackson EMC Linemen Take Trophies at Georgia Lineman’s Rodeo

(JEFFERSON, GA., May 12, 2017) — Jackson EMC linemen bested many others from across the state at the annual Georgia Lineman’s Rodeo, held May 6 in Fort Valley, Georgia. More than 33 teams of journeymen linemen and 86 apprentices from across the state assembled to compete in a series of events looking for a possible 100 points per event and the fastest time. Jackson EMC sent 12 apprentices to compete as individuals and 4, 3-member journeymen teams. Between the competitors, Jackson EMC had 19 top 10 finishes.

“Line work is complex. These events are a chance for our linemen to demonstrate for the public and their peers the variety of the tasks they encounter and the skill required to master their craft,” said Joe Dorough, Jackson EMC vice-president of engineering and operations. “Preparing and competing at this level involves many people across the organization and improves our teamwork companywide.”

Both apprentice linemen, and veteran linemen compete in the Lineman’s Rodeo. Through a combination of experience and training, lineman who have worked in the industry for at least seven years, and exhibit the necessary skills, receive the distinction of journeyman. The competitive events testing their skills at the rodeo included: Hurtman rescue, transformer changeout, switch relocation, switch changeout (team), transformer relocate (apprentice), splice-shunt device (team), jack jumper (apprentice), as well as a written test for apprentices.


Apprentice Kaleb Chapman, of Gainesville, was named the Georgia Champion Apprentice, finishing first in the overall Apprentice Division and the EMC Apprentice Division with a final score of 497 and a combined event time of 27 minutes, 46 seconds. Apprentice Josh Hallock, of Lawrenceville, finished second in the overall Apprentice Division and second in the EMC Division with a score of 496 and a combined time of 43:31 seconds. Also finishing in the Overall Apprentice Division: Kasey Odom sixth, Tyler Thurmond ninth, Austin Yearwood 19th, Austin Gragg 26th, Cody Watson 42nd, Dillon Welborn 43rd, Jose Rodriguez 49th, Kevin Cook 52nd, and James Partain, 65th.

In the individual event categories, Chapman scored a perfect 100 in every physical event and finished first in the hurtman rescue with a time of 58 seconds. He finished second in all other apprentice events based on time, including: jack jumper, 4:05; switch relocate, 7:30 seconds; and transformer relocate, 8:57 seconds. He scored a 97 on the written test, earning a second place award.


Jeremy Adams, Wayne Connell and Jeff Sutton, all of Gainesville, finished second overall in the Journeyman and EMC divisions with a perfect 400 score and a combined time of 29:43. In individual events, the team finished first in the hurtman rescue, completing the event in 54 seconds. The team also had two second place event finishes based on time; transformer changeout, 7:02; and the splice-shunt device, 8:02.

Kevin Grant, Jose Salgado and Matthew Tolar, all of Gainesville, competed as a journeyman team and finished first in the transformer changeout event with a time of 6:27 seconds and second in the hurtman rescue with a time of 57 seconds. The team finished 24th overall with 392 points and a combined time of 37:46.

Other journeyman teams with overall finishes include: Justin Cash, Shannon Love and Clay Phillips, all of Jefferson, 11th overall with a score of 398 and a combined time of 36:22; and Greg Angel, Jason Bond and Dwayne Dickerson, all of Neese, 31st overall with 386 points and a combined time of 31:37.

Brett Hurst, Jackson EMC line foreman in Gainesville, competed in the Senior Division with his brother Victor Hurst and Don Ritchey, both from Snapping Shoals EMC. The team finished first overall in the division.

“Our competitors worked very hard preparing for these events and really showed up to compete and did a great job,” said Tommy Parker, director of operation services. “It was also great to see the amount of support that we had from other employees who showed up just to watch.” More than 150 employees and family members went to Fort Valley to support the team.

The Lineman’s Rodeo attracts the best linemen from across the state to compete in events based on traditional lineman tasks and skills.

Jackson EMC is a member-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperative. Serving more than 220,000 members in a 10-county service area 50 miles northeast of Atlanta, Jackson EMC is one of the largest electric cooperatives in the nation.

Skill Events

Competition events exhibit skill and safety:

Hurt-man Rescue - Simulates the rescue of an injured worker stranded at the top of a utility pole.Switch Changeout (team) – Replacing a bad switching device on a pole that opens and closes lines.Switch Relocate (apprentice) – Moving a switching device from one end of the cross arm to the other.Transformer Relocate (apprentice) – Lineman moves a transformer from one side of the top of a pole to the other and installs it.Splice-shunt Device (team) – Simulates a repair needed in an emergency situation of a bad splice.Transformer Changeout (team) – Team removes an existing transformer and hoists a new transformer to the top of a pole for replacement.Jack Jumper (apprentice) – Install a device that allows the replacement of a fuse without interrupting service.

Photos and video from the event are available at: http://jacksonemc.smartimage.com/017-ga-linemans-rodeo-media.

Full results are available at: http://www.garodeo.com/.