HUGHESVILLE, Md. (April 5, 2011) Utility linemen perform dangerous work that requires physical strength, agility, and skill, especially under the worst weather conditions. They must perform with consistency and safety; their lives depend on it. SMECO's linemen will demonstrate those qualities in competition at the ninth annual Gaff 'n' Go Lineman's Rodeo, scheduled for April 9.
The Gaff 'n' Go Rodeo is an opportunity for linemen to test their skills against those of their peers. The event also provides an opportunity for members of the community to see what it takes to be a utility lineman-skill, strength, and respect for electricity.
This will be the seventh year that SMECO linemen will compete in the Gaff 'n' Go Rodeo. Each team consists of two journeyman linemen and a groundman, and they participate in five mandatory events, including the pole climb, hurt-man rescue, and three mystery events. Apprentice linemen also compete. They are judged on the pole climb, hurt-man rescue, a written test, and two mystery events. A person is considered an apprentice for up to four years after he enters the apprenticeship.
In 2010, SMECO linemen won a total of 10 awards. The journeyman team of Will Robertson, Jeremy Green, and Brian Rawlings finished the rodeo with a perfect score of 500, along with five other teams that also had perfect scores. This was the first time a SMECO team had finished the rodeo with a perfect score, and it is a huge accomplishment. In addition, as a journeyman team, Robertson, Green, and Rawlings won the Jimmy Gardner Award for the electric cooperative with the best score. This is the second time they have won this award. Robertson and Rawlings will be competing again this year with Josh Reithmeyer as the third member of their journeyman team.
Some SMECO crew members have completed the hurt-man rescue in a little over one minute. That means that from the ground, they put on their equipment, climb the pole, tie off and lower the victim to the bottom of the pole, and return safely to the ground in a little over sixty seconds. SMECO has a video of a hurt-man rescue demonstration on its YouTube page; visit
The events are judged by utility supervisors and previous rodeo contestants following very strict criteria based on correct work procedures and safety practices. The top three teams and top three apprentices will receive paid entry to the International Lineman's Rodeo in Kansas City, Missouri, being held October 12-15, 2011.
Join SMECO's linemen at the Ninth Annual Gaff 'n' Go Rodeo, April 9, 2011, at the Meadow Event Park (home of the Virginia State Fair) in Doswell, Virginia. The park is located off I-95, exit 98, one mile east of Kings Dominion. If you would like more information on attending the Gaff 'n' Go Rodeo, please visit
www.gaff-n-go.com or call 804-968-4073.