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In Our Community: Jackson EMC linemen rack up high finishes at rodeo
06112018 COMMUNITY Jackson EMC linemen
Jackson EMC linemen recorded multiple high finishes at the Georgia Lineman’s Rodeo. - photo by For The Times

Jackson EMC’s Kevin Grant, Matt Tolar and Scotty Tompkins were named top Journeyman Lineman Team at the 25th annual Georgia Lineman’s Rodeo held May 5 in Fort Valley. The competition attracts the best linemen in the state to compete in events based on traditional lineman tasks and skills.

This year’s event drew 24 teams of journeymen linemen and 96 apprentice linemen from across Georgia to compete in a series of events designed to test lineman knowledge, safety and efficiency.

Through a combination of experience and training, linemen who have worked in the electric utility industry for at least seven years, and exhibit the necessary skills, receive the distinction of journeyman. The competitive events testing their skills at the rodeo included: Hurtman rescue, cross arm relocate, cross arm change-out, dead-end shoe change-out, secondary connector change-out, insulator change-out, hot tie, as well as a written test for apprentices.

In total, 168 linemen competed in a series of four events looking for a possible 100 points per event and the fastest time. Jackson EMC sent 21 apprentices and five journeymen teams to the competition. Jackson EMC competitors finished among the top three in each category, and two journeyman teams and four apprentice linemen finished among the top 10 overall.  

Journeymen Division

Grant, Tolar and Tompkins, a team of journeymen from Gainesville, earned top honors at the event, being named the top Journeyman Team overall and top Journeyman Team in the EMC Division with a perfect score, 400, and a completion time of 25 minutes, 59 seconds. The team also won first place in the insulator change-out, second place in the hurtman rescue and second place in the crossarm change-out.

Jeremy Adams, Kaleb Chapman and Jeff Sutton, journeymen linemen from Gainesville, finished first place in the hot tie event. Justin Cash, Austin Gragg and Clay Phillips, journeymen linemen from Jefferson, finished third in the hot tie event and eighth overall. Brett Hurst of Gainesville was part of a team that placed first in the overall senior division. Hurst participated with linemen from Snapping Shoals EMC that included his brother, Victor Hurst, and teammate Don Ritchey.

Apprentice Division

Kasey Odom of Jefferson finished second overall in the apprentice division. Tyler Thurmond of Lawrenceville finished third overall and third in the EMC division. Thurmond also finished third on the written test. Collin Ward of Jefferson finished in fourth place overall and first place on the written test. Dillion Welborn of Jefferson finished sixth overall.

Jose Rodriguez of Gainesville finished first in the crossarm relocate, first in the dead-end shoe change-out and second place in the hurtman rescue. Rodriguez finished 12th overall with no safety point deductions and a time of 18 minutes, 20 seconds. He scored a 90 on the written test. Colby Chapman finished in first place in the secondary connector change out.

Jackson EMC, the largest electric cooperative in Georgia and one of the largest in the nation, is headquartered in Jefferson. The cooperative serves more than 225,000 meters on 14,000 miles of energized wire. For more information, visit

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