Thirteen was a lucky number for Jackson Energy Cooperative at the 2017 Kentucky Lineman Rodeo. This was the 13th year for the event. Jackson Energy teams took first and second place in the team competition on Friday and multiple 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place awards on Thursday during the individual journeyman and apprentice events, which were held at the Laurel London Optimist Club Sports Center in London. A total of 26 teams from electric cooperatives across the state took part in the rodeo. Taking first place and receiving the coveted silver transformer trophy was Jackson Energy Team 2. Team 2 members were Jon Tillery, Marlon Coffey and Daniel Henson. Coming in second place was Jackson Energy Team 1 linemen Gerard Lakes, Andy Bales and Tyler Riley. Taking the overall third spot was the team of Geoffrey Beck, Zachary Underhill and Jeremy Swift from West Kentucky RECC in Mayfield.
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The awards, which also included individual competition, were presented Friday at the close of the event. The rodeo was hosted this year by Jackson Energy Cooperative. “I’m proud of our teams,” says Jackson Energy President & CEO Carol Wright. “I’m proud of all the hard work our linemen put in to prepare for the competition. Coming in the top two spots the same year we hosted the rodeo makes it even more special.
“A lot of long hours went into preparing for this event,” Wright says. “I want to thank our employees and I want to thank the local community for their support.”
The team competition began early Friday morning with a tribute to fallen linemen. Jackson Energy President & CEO Carol Wright hung a wreath on an electric pole and linemen added empty boots, work gloves and a hard hat to the pole. Jackson Energy linemen also climbed a pole as part of the ceremony and unfurled American and Kentucky flags at the top.
This was the fifth time Jackson Energy has won the top spot in the rodeo. They won the first rodeo in 2005, and also won in 2011, 2014 and 2015. Linemen compete at the rodeo in categories that test their job and safety skills. From changing transformers and putting up electric lines, to rescuing a life-sized dummy from the top of a pole, the contestants are judged on how fast they complete the task and also whether or not they have any safety violations.
The annual event is coordinated by the Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives (KAEC) and volunteers from KAEC and other Kentucky electric cooperatives work as judges, clerks and perform other duties at the rodeo.
In addition to the overall team spots, Jackson Energy linemen won the following rodeo awards:
Journeymen competition – Gerard Lakes, first place, hurtman. Royce Baker, second place, hurtman. Jon Tillery, third place, hurtman. Royce Baker, second place, light change. Marlon Coffey, second place overall, individual journeymen.
Apprentice competition – Daniel Henson, first place, hurtman. Tyler Riley, second place, hurtman. Daniel Henson, third place, light change. Daniel Henson, first place, lineman assembly. Daniel Henson, third place, skills climb. Daniel Henson, first place overall, individual apprentice.
Team competition – Jackson Energy 3 (Brent Johnson, Royce Baker, Kris Cunigan), first place hurtman. Jackson Energy 2 (Jon Tillery, Marlon Coffey, Daniel Henson), third place, hurtman. Jackson Energy 2, first place, cross arm change. Jackson Energy 1 (Gerard Lakes, Andy Bakes, Tyler Riley), first place, crew medley. Jackson Energy 2, second place, crew medley. Jackson Energy 1, second place, wire down.