SEC Lineworkers Win Big at Skills Competition
Three Southside Electric Cooperative apprentice lineworkers grabbed first- and second-place honors in the Gaff-n-Go Lineworker Rodeo held May 13-14 near Richmond.
Competing against 74 other apprentices, Scott Geovannello, who works out of SEC’s Powhatan office, and Hunter Cline and Shane Baldwin, both out of the Altavista office, brought home top finishes. Geovannello placed second in the Overall Apprentice Winner category and first in CPR and AED exercises. Cline finished second in the Bell Insulator Change Out and second in the Climbing Skills Demonstration. Baldwin was the first-place winner in the Climbing Skills Demonstration.
“The apprentice lineworkers put themselves out there to compete and compete they did,” said SEC Director of Technical Services Joshua Wells. “SEC is extremely proud of these dedicated and determined individuals.”
Held at Meadow Event Park in Doswell and sponsored by the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives, the Gaff-n-Go is one of the largest regional rodeos in the country, attracting apprentices and journeyman teams from electric cooperatives, investor-owned utilities and contractors. The event provides lineworkers the opportunity to compete in a challenging environment and demonstrate the required skills they use in the field every day. This year’s event saw 160 lineworkers gathered from across the east coast.
Typically held annually, this year’s rodeo returned after two years of pandemic-related cancellations.
“I participated in this year's Gaff-n-Go because, first and foremost, I wanted to represent my co-op in this prestigious event and, secondly, I wanted to put my skills to the test against the best there was,” Geovannello said. “Receiving awards was a huge honor; it symbolized all the demanding work put into training and the composure to perform under pressure. But the feeling to be able to bring home an award for my co-op was the best feeling of accomplishment.”
“It felt great being awarded my plaques, especially knowing that the hard work and coaching from Tommy Byrd (line technician, Altavista,) Blake Poindexter (apparatus technician, Altavista) and Will Southworth (line technician, Powhatan) paid off,” Cline said. “I am thankful for being given the opportunity to compete in Gaff-n-Go and represent SEC.”
“When we first started practicing, our times were slow, but as we progressed, we competed against each other, which really pushed us since we are all competitive by nature,” said Baldwin. “During the last week of practice, we knew we had real potential for placing!”
Participating in the Gaff-n-Grill event was the team of SEC apparatus technicians, Bobby Moseley, Wayne Paulett, Andy Haynes and Poindexter. In addition, Director of Safety Ian Hix, Wells and Byrd served as judges for the Gaff-n-Go competition.
Virginia Del. Lamont Bagby of Richmond started the festivities by reading a proclamation signed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin that declared May 13 Electric Utility Day in Virginia.
Southside Electric Cooperative, a not-for-profit, member-owned electric distribution company, has more than 57,600 active services across 18 counties in central and southern Virginia. Headquartered in Crewe, SEC has district offices in Altavista, Crewe, Dinwiddie and Powhatan. This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.