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Mine safety competition comes to Pikeville

By: Whitney Burks Email
By: Whitney Burks Email

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Dozen of mine safety teams from across the country have flooded into Pikeville.

The first annual Hatfield McCoy Mine Safety Competition kicked off Tuesday morning.

"We have mining teams from Pennsylvania, Alabama, Colorado," said Pikeville Tourism Director Jesse Bowling.

There are 33 teams with one goal in mind.

"To search for people that are usually kept behind barricades or other places and may be conscious or may be unconscious," said Jim Poynter with the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

But it is not a real emergency. It is a competition.

"It's hot, stressful. There's a lot that goes into it. You put a lot of practice into it and just come out and try to do your best," said an Alabama Team Captain Kenneth Talley.

Each day dozens of mine safety teams take to the field to demonstrate life and death scenarios they may actually run into in the mines, but officials say it is more than just a competition.

They say the real value to it is the practice.

"They're the last people we call, the ones we hope we never have to, but we want them to be the best the are when we have to call them," said Poynter.

This is the City of Pikeville's first year hosting the event which was appropriately renamed the Hatfield McCoy Mine Safety Competition.

"It just helps us be able to support coal more than we already do, so we're very glad and we're very proud to be hosting here at Bob Amos Park," said Bowling.

Treating each event as a real emergency the teams' goals are to come out stronger and hopefully bring home a few bragging rights.

"They're serious about their craft and that's a great thing because we all want these men to come home safe," said Sean Cochran, Pikeville Director of Attractions and Events.

The competition will be at Bob Amos Park in Pikeville through Thursday.

Events kick off early each morning and usually finish by early afternoon.

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