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Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative training for line worker’s rodeo in Richmond

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 5:38 PM EDT
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STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) - Six linemen from Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative are gearing up to compete in the “Gaff-n-Go” Lineworker’s Rodeo in Richmond on Saturday.

The rodeo consists of lineworkers from across the commonwealth competing in various events like pole climbing and rescue.

There are journeymen teams, who are veterans at the job, and apprentices who are new to line working and can get certified at this event.

“There’s a lot of pride that everyone puts in this, everyone wants to win, we want to perform well for the company,” Hedrick said.

It’s practices they’re trained to do in their everyday jobs, but not so often used.

”We don’t have to climb every pole, but we’re trained in pole tie, we have to be certified in pole tie, the skills that we’re doing normally you know when it places you can’t get a bucket to, these are the things we do,” Josh Hedrick, operations supervisor for the Augusta District for SVEC said.

The top three times from each event move on to the national competition in Kansas City.

The men from SVEC have been training for the past six weeks.

Most of their work can be done with a bucket truck nowadays, however, when severe weather hits they must put the skills to use as they climb the poles themselves to quickly restore power to the Valley.

The rodeo offers a competitive way for line workers to practice skills they may not use every day.

”It’s stuff that we perform daily, just with a time added to it so a lot of practice goes into this,” Hedrick said.

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