From Rappahannock Electric Cooperative:
A team of REC linemen consisting of Thomas Bailey, Addison Spicer and Alister Pollard – from REC’s Eastern Region – earned the overall first-place trophy in the equipment events. Those events feature challenges using bucket trucks, digger derricks and other utility equipment. REC linemen Jason Morris, Chad Foster and Kevin Houston – also from REC’s Eastern Region – won third place in the overall equipment competition.
The same two teams also won first and third place in the Digger Derrick Obstacle competition, and Morris, Foster and Houston placed first in the Bucket Truck Rescue event.
Apprentice lineman Kory Settle, from REC’s Western Region, placed second in the cutout relocate event.
The Gaff-n-Go competition is the only event of its type held in Virginia. 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. Besides the competition, the gathering provides a variety of benefits for the linemen – and REC’s member-owners.
“This event is critical for our linemen, because it gives them an opportunity to improve and enhance safety, and it allows us to show the public how we do this different work,” said Kent D. Farmer, president and CEO of REC. He said linemen build bonds with peers from other utilities. “That’s important because inevitably in big storms, they’re either coming to help us or we’re going to help them. So to have that camaraderie with the people you’re working with – it just means a whole lot.”
As they wait to compete, linemen watch their peers, hoping to pick up any tips to help them work safer and restore service faster, said Ron Harris, REC’s vice president of engineering and operations.
“While our linemen are here they are learning new techniques from the other utilities, which helps them work safer when they get back to their jobs,” Harris said.