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N.C. electric co-op line workers crown new champions

Raleigh, N.C. —Chris Griffin and Brad Payne, line workers from Union Power Cooperative in Monroe and French Broad EMC in Marshall, respectively, were crowned Pole Top Rescue Champions on Thursday. 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 fall protection that wraps 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. Griffin won the category with the new fall protection, and Payne won first prize in the traditional category.

Griffin and Payne beat 22 other local champions Thursday at the state competition held on the lawn of North Carolina’s electric cooperatives’ office building. More than 600 of North Carolina’s electric cooperative line workers began the year competing for the 2014 title. Winners of local cooperative and regional competitions advanced to Thursday’s state championship. Griffin finished in a new record time of 1:33.47 and Payne recorded a time of 1:49.50.

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 Leonard Person of Tri-County EMC (Dudley) in a time of 1:35.48 and Kenny Simmons of Pee Dee EMC (Wadesboro) in a time of 1:37.97. Rounding out second and third place for the traditional life line and life hook category were Chad Bryant of Halifax EMC (Enfield) in a time of 2:15.86 and Jonathan Long of Carteret-Craven Electric Cooperative (Newport) in a time of 2:20.74.

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 the 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. Find Tweets about the event @ncelectriccoop using the hashtag #ncpoletop.

Name of Contestant

Electric Cooperative

Time(Minutes:seconds)
Matthew Byrum Albemarle EMC, based in Hertford, NC 1:57.17
Chad Rupard Blue Ridge EMC, based in Lenoir, NC 2:41.86
Justin Ward Brunswick EMC, based in Shallotte, NC 2:11.40
Richard Augustson Cape Hatteras EC based in Buxton, NC 2:45.33*
Jonathan Long Carteret-Craven EC, based in Newport, NC 2:20.74*
Harris Morrison Central EMC, based in Sanford, NC 3:02.31
Blake Fleming Edgecombe-Martin County EMC, based in Tarboro, NC 2:15.84
Austin Story EnergyUnited, based in Statesville, NC 1:50.44
Lee Bain Four County EMC, based in Burgaw, NC 2:59.75*
Brad Payne French Broad EMC, based in Marshall, NC 1:49.50*
Chad Bryant Halifax EMC, based in Enfield, NC 2:15.86*
Joshua Munro Lumbee River EMC, based in Red Springs, NC 1:57.13
Kenny Simmons Pee Dee Electric, based in Wadesboro, NC 1:37.97
Jonathan Jacobs Piedmont EMC, based in Hillsborough, NC 2:56.33
Brantley Lawrence Pitt & Greene EMC in Farmville, NC 1:41.72
Danny Lee Randolph EMC, based in Asheboro, NC 2:12.09
Charles Bryant Roanoke EC, based in Aulander, NC 2:29.53
Kyle Daves Rutherford EMC, based in Forest City, NC 1:47.68
Carson Walker South River EMC, based in Dunn, NC 3:22.52
Justin Collins Surry-Yadkin EMC, based in Dobson, NC 2:19.96
Matthew Neal Tideland EMC, based in Pantego, NC 3:05.82
Leonard Person Tri-County EMC, based in Dudley, NC 1:35.48
Chris Griffin Union Power, based in Monroe, NC 1:33.47
Cory Lawrence Wake Electric, based in Wake Forest, NC 2:10.81

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

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