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Snapping Shoals EMC employees join in lineman rodeo

Snapping Shoals employees, front row from left, Keith Garner, Victor Hurst, Travis Long, Byron Burke and Terry Buffer, back row from left, Jamie Nash, Russell Nelms, Robert Whitener, Chris Harbin, Chris Harper, Don Ritchey, Keith Higgins and Bobby Fincher recently participated in the 2014 Lineman’s Rodeo. (Special Photo)

Snapping Shoals employees, front row from left, Keith Garner, Victor Hurst, Travis Long, Byron Burke and Terry Buffer, back row from left, Jamie Nash, Russell Nelms, Robert Whitener, Chris Harbin, Chris Harper, Don Ritchey, Keith Higgins and Bobby Fincher recently participated in the 2014 Lineman’s Rodeo. (Special Photo)

Snapping Shoals linemen recently participated in the 2014 Lineman’s Rodeo held at the FFA Camp in Fort Valley, Ga.

For the past two decades, linemen from across the state have been gathering together for friendly competition at the Georgia Lineman’s Rodeo. Snapping Shoals was well represented at this year’s rodeo with two teams and two apprentices competing, according to a press release from the company.

Several others with ties to SSEMC participated in a variety of ways as well.

Linemen Russell Nelms and Robert Whitener served as coaches to the two apprentices, Chris Harbin and Travis Long, who were both participating in the rodeo for the first time. Long placed fourth in the Mystery Event, which was a switch and jumper installation, fifth in the Obstacle Course Event and sixth in the Hurtman Rescue. A total of 47 apprentices competed in the rodeo.

The team of Terry Buffer, Byron Burke and Chris Harper took first place in the Insulator and Hardware Change-out Event and third place in the Mystery Event, which involved changing out an energized jumper. The team took eighth place overall among 27 teams.

The team of Bobby Fincher, Keith Higgins and Don Ritchey placed twelfth among all teams.

SSEMC employees Keith Garner and Jamie Nash served as judges for the rodeo while a quartet featuring SSEMC Board Chairman Anthony Norton, member Alton McCullough, employee Scott Fuss and Senior Vice President of Line Services Victor Hurst sang the National Anthem at the Opening Ceremony. Hurst also serves on the rodeo’s Events Committee.

The Georgia Lineman’s Rodeo has become increasingly popular with utilities and the public over the years, according to the release. The competition gives linemen an opportunity to showcase the skills that are necessary to restore power in the electric utility business.

“These are situations that our linemen get into every day,” Hurst said. “The events require so much thinking on your feet that it helps us keep our standards high in every area.”

Snapping Shoals EMC is a consumer-owned cooperative providing electric service to approximately 95,000 homes and businesses primarily in Newton, Rockdale, Henry and southern DeKalb counties.