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NEW THIS MORNING: WGL crews fair well at lineman's rodeo

Photo by J.D. Sumner

Photo by J.D. Sumner

ALBANY, Ga. -- This ain't your father's rodeo.

In fact, the Georgia Lineman Rodeo Association's annual event has nothing to do with steer roping or bull riding.

But it does allow utility workers from around the state to show off the skills they depend on to keep power flowing to your homes and businesses.

"It's a competitive event that lets us compete against other people from around the state," Albany Water, Gas & Light Commission Light Director said. "And these are skills that they have to use on the job to keep things running."

The annual event pits utility workers against each other in contests ranging from pole climbing, to retrieving an injured man stranded high above the ground and changing insulated spools.

Gary Jean, Lee Green, Mercer Garrett, Randy Paul, and Mike Hearon, Jr., brought home medals from the event, which prompted some well-deserved chest beating by WG&L General Manager Lemuel Edwards.

"They do these things day in and day out without much thought from anyone," Edwards said. "When lines go down or power goes out in a storm, they leave their families and the safety of their homes and get out in it to get those lines up and working as fast as possible."

"They are a credit to the industry and to the city and the rate-payers should be proud of them," he said.

Just before the events, some on the crew were in Chattanooga, Tenn., working with other utility crews from around the Southeast to restore power to residents and businesses in the wake of the strong storm system that swept through the Deep South late last month, spawning a record number of tornadoes throughout the region.

"That's what they do, though," Edwards said. "It isn't easy. It's a hard, dangerous job, but they make it look easy."