Governor's Cup mine rescue contest

THE 23rd Governor’s Cup mine rescue and safety competition wrapped last week in Virginia, with a Consol Energy team named overall winner and a Teco Energy group earning top out-of-state prize.

Donna Schmidt

The event on June 6 brought 12 teams from the state as well as West Virginia and Kentucky to the Southwest Virginia Community College in Richlands.

They were judged by the state Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy as well as the US Mine Safety and Health Administration on their thoroughness and ability to identify and respond to hazards.

Topping the in-state awards for Virginia mine rescue teams was Consol Energy’s Buchanan Mine – Orange Team from Mavisdale. It also received the annual Governor’s Cup and was named the grand champion of the event.

Taking top honours for the competition’s out-of-state awards was Teco Coal’s Blue Team from Kentucky. Second place went to another Teco Coal group, the Gray Team, also from Kentucky.

In pre-shift, Massey Energy’s Charles Conn proved to be the best. Second place was earned by David Shackleford of Lone Mountain Processing and third place was taken by Jackie Horne of Consol Energy.

Virginia Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling presented the awards for each of the event’s contests. He also bestowed awards in the Virginia Mining Association’s mine safety art and essay contest to students from kindergarten through seventh grade in Buchanan, Russell, Tazewell and Wise counties.

“Mine rescue teams have been a critical fixture in coal mining since the late 1800s and the first national mine rescue demonstration was held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1911,” said Virginia Mining Association director Dennis Sutherland.

“While the technology used by these teams has advanced over many decades, the selfless dedication of those who volunteer to work on mine rescue teams at their own risk to serve their co-workers is the mainstay of mine rescue.”

Vendors were also on hand during the competition, including Mine Lifeline, Appalachian Graphics, Coalfield Services, Strata Products, Pillar Innovations and American Mine Research.

The event was sponsored by the Virginia Mining Association, Virginia DMME, and MSHA.

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