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NOVEC teams take first and fifth places in Virginia’s annual rodeo for linemen

A Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative team of journeyman line technicians (linemen) won the overall journeyman competition at the 15th Annual Gaff-n-Go Lineman’s Rodeo, March 20, at Meadow Event Park in Doswell, VA. The team competed against 17 other journeyman teams from 14 electric utilities, including the much larger Dominion Energy Virginia and Duke Energy.

A second NOVEC journeyman team took fifth place, while four NOVEC apprentice linemen swept the Climbing Skills event. In total, 200 journeymen, apprentices, and judges from five states participated. 

The Gaff-n-Go Lineman’s Rodeo features three-man journeyman teams and individual apprentice linemen who perform a variety of required skills atop 40-foot utility poles. Judges score the competitors on how quickly they complete each task correctly and safely. NOVEC’s winning team won four of the five events.

The Gaff-n-Go gets its name from the gaff—or metal spike—that linemen attach to their boots to assist in climbing wooden utility poles.

“NOVEC’s line techs were outstanding in last week’s competition,” said NOVEC President/CEO Stan Feuerberg. “Our journeyman teams have won the Gaff-n-Go three times since 2012, which speaks volumes about the training they’ve received and their individual and collective determination to excel and compete. We’re proud that our apprentice linemen have recognized the importance of those skills mastered by our more experienced linemen and have chosen to follow their lead.”

NOVEC’s Overall First Place Journeyman Team and Home Counties

    ·  Justin Bettis, Culpeper County

    ·  Kyle Sarvis, Fauquier County

    ·  Jesse Taylor, Page County

NOVEC’s Overall Fifth Place Journeyman Team and Home Counties

    ·  Dan Hampton, Prince William County

    ·  Chris Perry, Prince William County

    ·  Robbie Studds, Fauquier County

NOVEC’s Apprentices in the Climbing Skills Demonstration and Home Counties

    1st James Davison, Loudoun County

    2nd Anthony Helsley, Shenandoah County

    3rd Maurico Paz, Prince William County

    4th Emmanuel Marfo, Prince William County

Mason “Skip” Hollcroft, NOVEC System Construction manager, said, “Line techs must be physically and mentally sharp to climb utility poles and work with electricity. They often do this dangerous work in the worst kinds of weather, including at night. Despite all of their challenges, I’m proud to say our line techs have an outstanding safety record.”

Christopher Heggen, NOVEC System Construction supervisor, said, “I thank Joe Walker, our lead line tech who coaches our competitors. He has been the backbone of our rodeo teams for years. And I thank Eric Depukat, Matt Grenke, Tony Hyier, Roy Robinson, Marc Schiller, Eric Stewart, and Norman Tapp for volunteering as rodeo judges.” 

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