Jackson EMC Takes Top Prize at Georgia Lineman’s Rodeo
(JEFFERSON, GA., May 8, 2018) – Jackson EMC’s Kevin Grant, Matt Tolar and Scotty Tompkins were named top Journeyman Lineman Team at the 25th annual Georgia Lineman’s Rodeo, held May 5 in Fort Valley, Ga. The competition attracts the best linemen in the state to compete in events based on traditional linemen tasks and skills.
This year’s event drew 24 teams of journeymen linemen and 96 apprentice linemen from across Georgia to compete in a series of events designed to test lineman knowledge, safety and efficiency.
“Linework is complex,” said Joe Dorough, Jackson EMC vice president of engineering and operations. “The Georgia Lineman’s Rodeo requires competitors to master their skills, to study, and to train with some of the best linemen at Jackson EMC. We’re proud to support our teams and individuals who competed in the rodeo because we know the process to train for the event makes them better linemen.”
One goal of the Georgia Lineman’s Rodeo is to encourage safe work practices among electric utility professionals. Competitors are not only scored on their speed, but also on their ability to follow industry safety standards and work practices.
“We not only want our linemen to become more highly skilled, but we also want them to work safely,” said Dwayne Ansley, Jackson EMC vice president of operations support services. “The rodeo gives our guys the opportunity to show off their skills while working safely. They’re also proud to show these skills to their family members. Jackson EMC had a large showing of family members to cheer on our linemen at the rodeo.”
Both apprentice linemen and veteran linemen, called journeymen, compete in the Georgia Lineman’s Rodeo. Through a combination of experience and training, linemen who have worked in the electric utility industry for at least seven years, and exhibit the necessary skills, receive the distinction of journeyman. The competitive events testing their sills at the rodeo included: Hurtman rescue, cross arm relocate, cross arm change-out, dead-end shoe change-out, secondary connector change-out, insulator change-out, hot tie, as well as a written test for apprentices.
In total, 168 linemen competed in a series of four events on Saturday looking for a possible 100 points per event and the fastest time. Jackson EMC sent 21 apprentices and five journeymen teams to the competition. Jackson EMC competitors finished among the top three in each category, and two journeyman teams and four apprentice linemen finished among the top 10 overall.
Grant, Tolar and Tompkins, a team of journeymen from Gainesville, earned top honors at the event being named the top Journeyman Team overall and top Journeyman Team in the EMC Division with a perfect score, 400, and a completion time of 25 minutes, 59 seconds. The team also won first place in the insulator change-out (mystery event #1), second place in the hurtman rescue and second place in the crossarm change-out (mystery event #2).
Justin Cash, Austin Gragg and Clay Phillips, journeymen linemen from Jefferson, finished third in the hot tie event and eighth overall. Jeremy Adams, Kaleb Chapman and Jeff Sutton, journeymen linemen from Gainesville, finished first place in the hot tie event. Brett Hurst, of Gainesville, was part of a team that placed first in the overall senior division. Hurst participated with linemen from Snapping Shoals EMC that included his brother, Victor Hurst and teammate Don Ritchey.
Kasey Odom, of Jefferson, finished second overall in the apprentice division. Tyler Thurmond, of Lawrenceville, finished third overall and third in the EMC division. Thurmond also finished third on the written test. Collin Ward, of Jefferson, finished in fourth place overall and first place on the written test. Dillion Welborn, of Jefferson, finished sixth overall.
Jose Rodriguez, of Gainesville, finished first in the crossarm relocate (mystery event #1), first in the dead-end shoe change-out (mystery event #2) and second place in the hurtman rescue. Rodriguez finished 12 overall with no safety point deductions, and a time of 18 minutes, 20 seconds. He scored a 90 on the written test. Colby Chapman finished in first place in the secondary connector change out.
Jackson Electric Membership Corporation, the largest electric cooperative in Georgia and one of the largest in the nation, is headquartered 50 miles northeast of Atlanta in Jefferson, Ga. The cooperative serves more than 225,000 meters on 14,000 miles of energized wire. For more information, visit jacksonemc.com.