N.C. Electric Co-op Line Workers Crown New Champions

Raleigh, N.C. —Leonard Person and Kenny Simmons, line workers from Tri-County EMC in Dudley  and Pee Dee EMC in Wadesboro, respectively, were crowned Pole Top Rescue Champions on Tuesday. This year’s competition had two categories based on the type of protection competitors used to prevent from falling. One group used a newer form of restraints that wrap around the pole to protect from falls during the ascent and descent, and the other group secured themselves in the more traditional way with a lifeline and life hook. Person, a three-time Pole Top Rescue champion, won the category with the new restraints that wrap around the pole, and Simmons won first prize in the traditional category.

Person and Simmons beat 21 other local champions Tuesday at the state competition held on the lawn of North Carolina’s electric cooperatives’ office building. More than 600 North Carolina electric cooperative line workers began the year competing for the 2012 title. Winners of local cooperative and regional competitions advanced to Tuesday’s state championship. Person finished in a new record time of 1:33.80 and Simmons recorded a time of 1:36.74.

In the Pole Top Rescue scenario, line workers place an emergency radio call, don climbing gear, scale 20 feet up a utility pole, rig a rope, lower a 105-pound mannequin and begin CPR.

The second and third place competitors using the new fall protection were Brantley Lawrence of Pitt & Greene EMC (Farmville) in a time of 1:37.02 and Chris Griffin of Union Power (Monroe) in a time of 1:57.62. Rounding out second and third place for the traditional life line and life hook category were Jason Worley of French Broad EMC (Marshall) in a time of 1:41.65 and Freddy White of Four County EMC (Burgaw) in a time of 2:02.80.

North Carolina’s electric cooperatives provide energy to 2.5 million people in 93 of the state’s 100 counties, primarily in the rural parts of state. The electric cooperatives own and maintain more than 95,000 miles of power lines, by far the most of any electric utility in North Carolina.

Please see the chart below for the times of each competitor. The chart is listed alphabetically by electric cooperative.

Name of Contestant

Electric Cooperative

Time (Minutes:seconds)

Matthew Byrum Albemarle EMC, based in Hertford, NC 2:14.69
Ben Hurley Blue Ridge EMC, based in Lenoir, NC 2:55.09
Chuck Nance Brunswick EMC, based in Shallotte, NC 2:51.04
Richard Augustson Cape Hatteras EC based in Buxton, NC 2:43.23*
Jonathan Long Carteret-Craven EC, based in Newport, NC 2:08.31
Harris Morrison Central EMC, based in Sanford, NC 2:29.52
Chad Bryant Edgecombe-Martin County EMC, based in Tarboro, NC 2:34.00*
Shay Reed EnergyUnited, based in Statesville, NC 2:10.59
Freddy White Four County EMC, based in Burgaw, NC 2:02.80*
Jason Worley French Broad EMC, based in Marshall, NC 1:41.65*
Jarrod Norris Jones-Onslow EMC, based in Jacksonville, NC 2:05.00
Mike Jones Lumbee River EMC, based in Red Springs, NC 2:49.63
Kenny Simmons Pee Dee Electric, based in Wadesboro, NC 1:36.74*
Brent Talley Piedmont EMC, based in Hillsborough, NC 2:44.29*
Brantley Lawrence Pitt & Greene EMC in Farmville, NC 1:37.02
Danny Lee Randolph EMC, based in Asheboro, NC 2:35.02
James Taylor Roanoke EC, based in Roanoke Rapids, NC 2:54.81
Timothy Williams South River EMC, based in Dunn, NC 2:54.47
Justin Collins Surry-Yadkin EMC, based in Dobson, NC 2:16.93
Matthew Neal Tideland EMC, based in Pantego, NC 3:08.36
Leonard Person Tri-County EMC, based in Dudley, NC 1:33.80
Chris Griffin Union Power, based in Monroe, NC 1:57.62
Cory Lawrence Wake Electric, based in Wake Forest, NC 2:29.77

* Denotes competitor wearing the traditional life line and life hook protection.