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Wellmore Coal Company Mine Rescue Team wins 2021 Governor’s Cup Mine Rescue Contest


Wise, VA – The 34th annual Governor’s Cup Mine Rescue Contest was held at UVA-Wise’s Carl Smith Football Stadium, Wise, VA, June 9, 2021, beginning at 7:00 a.m. The contest is co-sponsored by the Metallurgical Coal Producers Association and Virginia DMME.


Mine rescue contests are designed to sharpen skills and test the knowledge of team members who would be called on to respond to a mine emergency. Each team member is required to take written test prior to going onto the field. The contest requires team members to solve a hypothetical problem while being timed and observed by judges according to complex rules. Team members donned full mine rescue gear, including oxygen breathing apparatus, to determine underground mine conditions, construct ventilation controls and locate and extract accident “victims”.


“It was great to get these teams at an in-person event after COVID forced us to be creative to get our required mine competitions in last year,” said Randy Moore, Virginia DMME Director of Coal Programs. “When it comes to mine rescue, comradery is just as important as testing our skills.”


The teams were judged on their thoroughness in recording mine conditions on a map as they advanced into the “mine” and their ability to identify and respond to hazards that could endanger the team or trapped miners.

Individual coal miners also competed in preshift competitions. The preshift competition is designed for mine foreman and judges their ability to identify and rid the coal mine of any problems. Foremen do this check before the beginning of each shift to ensure the safety of their crews.


Jennifer Palestrant, Chief Deputy, Virginia DMME Randy Moore and Barbara Altizer with Metallurgical Coal Producers Association presented the awards.

First place winner, Wellmore Coal Company team were presented the ‘Traveling Trophy’ and first place plaque. Will Altizer, team trainer; Shannan Moore, captain; Caleb Schoeff, briefing officer and team members, Chris Turner, Shannon Sutherland, Jordan Curry, Todd Ward and Jonathan Berger. Team alternate, Taylor Smith.


Alden Resources won second place. Lewis Mills, Director of Safety. Team members Fred Shannon, captain; Travis Truett, briefing officer; Mike Sharp, CCA; and team members. Shannon Jones, Johnny Riley, Nick Shannon, and Bryan Lewis. Team alternate, Josh Knuckles.


Preshift tests the skills needed by foremen when ensuring the mine is safe for employees to work. This includes checking ventilation structures, first aid equipment, electrical installations, fire fighting equipment, and mine life line installations. The Pre-Shift winners were:


1st Place: Frankie Moore, Paramont-Contura Energy

2nd Place: Todd Ward, Wellmore Coal Company


Wellmore Mine Rescue:

PICTURED left to right -

1st Row - Taylor Swift, Shannon Sutherland and Chris Turner

2nd Row - Jordan Curry, Caleb Schoeff, Todd Ward, Shannon Moore, Barbara Altizer


and Will Altizer

3rd Row - Randy Moore, Jennifer Palenstrant and Jonathan Berger



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