REC Line Workers Take Top Honors in Regional Equipment Operator's Rodeo

Gaff-n-GoChap Morris, a lineman from REC’s Culpeper district, competing at the 2015 Gaff-n-Go Lineman’s Rodeo.

Linemen and other employees from REC competed in and helped judge events at the 13th Annual Terex Gaff-n-Go Equipment & Lineman's Rodeo, held March 27 and 28 at the Caroline County Agricultural Fairgrounds near Ruther Glen.

More than 225 utility workers from seven states took part in the two-day competition. The only event of its type in the mid-Atlantic region, the Gaff-n-Go Lineman's Rodeo offers professional linemen the opportunity to demonstrate their technical skills as they perform a variety of designated electric line-work tasks. Their performances are timed and scored, with safe work practices the most important factor in judging.

REC linemen Bradley Sylvia, Thomas Bailey and Chris Farmer finished first out of 21 teams from around the east coast competing in the equipment operator’s rodeo on Friday, while second place went to REC’s team of Chad Foster, Philip Holtzlander and Jason Morris. Both teams are comprised of linemen from REC’s Bowling Green district.

During Saturday’s events, apprentice lineman Chad Foster, who also works in REC’s Bowling Green district, finished fifth overall out of 55 apprentices in the five-event competition.

In addition, REC’s Manager of Safety, Security and Risk Management, Maxie Rozell, co-chaired the Gaff-n-Go Rodeo Working Group of the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives.

"The Gaff-n-Go Lineman’s Rodeo promotes safety and teamwork," notes Kent Farmer, REC's president and CEO. "The work that linemen do to provide safe, reliable electricity for our members is a dangerous one. By practicing and preparing to compete at the Rodeo, our linemen are honing their skills to be even more efficient and safe at their jobs."

REC provides electric service to nearly 160,000 connections in parts of 22 Virginia counties. With its general office in Fredericksburg, the Cooperative manages more than 16,000 miles of power lines through its service area, which ranges from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the tidal waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Follow REC on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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Gaff-n-Go PictureREC linemen Chris Farmer (second from left) and Thomas Bailey (second from right) pose with their first-place trophy. Not pictured: Bradley Sylvia

Gaff-n-Go Picture A judge at the 2015 Gaff-n-Go Lineman’s Rodeo watches REC lineman Jason Morris complete a phase of his event. Morris works in the Cooperative’s Bowling Green district.

Gaff-n-Go REC apprentice lineman Matt Fauver starts his climb while competing at the 2015 Gaff-n-Go Lineman’s Rodeo. Fauver works in the Cooperative’s Blue Ridge district.