This year, MTEMC hosted the 21st annual Tennessee Valley Lineman Rodeo on June 29 and 30th at the Tennessee Miller Coliseum in Murfreesboro. The Tennessee Valley Lineman Rodeo is a competitive event started in 1998 by and for the employees of Tennessee Valley Authority power distributors. Hundreds of linemen scaled new heights, proving that performing tasks at 40 feet in the air isn’t easy! Participants were judged on safety procedures, work practices, ability, equipment handling and timely completion.
Rusty George, a participant, said, “It’s good comradery. You get to meet a bunch of people. I’ve met some good guys. We’ve become close friends over the years, which if I had never competed, I would have never met these guys. Once you meet them here, it’s a lifelong bond,” George said. “You’re like brothers.”
Thirteen linemen from MTEMC participated as part of teams from utilities across the Tennessee Valley. This year’s event drew lineman from more than 35 utilities across multiple states, including Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, and North Carolina.
While they all compete against each other, it’s friendly and supportive, regardless of the cooperative for which each lineman works.
Representing us at the rodeo were Journeyman linemen Danny Crawford, Chris Gossett, Brad Kincaid and Nathan Neal from the Franklin office; Jimmy Grant from the Murfreesboro office; B.J. Bobo and Bo Asbury from the Woodbury office; and Rusty George from the Lebanon office. Also representing were apprentice linemen Bobby Buttrey and Jamie Hazelwood from the Franklin office; Jonathan Fitzpatrick, Chase Patterson and Marshall Lorance from the Murfreesboro office.
Seven of our linemen took home a total of 18 awards in this year’s rodeo. Grant, Kincaid, Crawford and Gossett placed first through fourth in the Individual Lineman Overall category respectively.
“Our linemen are the unsung heroes who stand at the ready to respond to outages caused by storms, accidents or anything else that may knock out the power of MTEMC,” said Chris Jones, President/CEO. “They are the ones who, through their tireless efforts, help ensure the system reliability of member-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives.”
Grant and Gossett placed first and third in the Cutout Change event with Grant also placing second in both the Skill Climb and Hurtman Rescue events. We had one lineman in the senior category this year, which consists of linemen 45-years old and above. Bo Asbury placed second in the Senior Lineman Overall with second-place finishes in B-7 Bell Change and Dead Lift. Asbury also received a third-place finish for Hurtman Rescue. In the apprentice category, Fitzpatrick and Patterson placed first and third, respectively for the Apprentice Lineman Overall category. They also placed first and third in the Dead Lift event. Fitzpatrick scored a first-place finish in the B-1 Tie-In and was second-place in the Hurtman Rescue event.
Tom Suggs, MTEMC chief operating officer, spoke about the work ethic and dedication of linemen and the value of the competitions. “These teams train hard. They work hard at this, and they know each other from the other power systems around,” Suggs said. “It’s friendly competition, but it’s competition.”
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