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Wellmore Coal Company Wins Governor's Cup, Overmountain Mine Rescue Titles



Wellmore Coal Company took two first place mine rescue contest wins this week, capturing the Metallurgical Coal Producers Association (MCPA) 37th Annual Governor’s Cup and the VA Post 7 Overmountain titles following the conclusion of the joint contests held at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon, VA.


The contests, combined for the first time this year into one three-day event in Abingdon, also saw winners named in the Bench, Pre-Shift, Team Tech and First Aid individual skills contests.


Buchanan Minerals took second place in the Governor’s Cup; and Metinvest Affinity’s team took third place in the Governor’s Cup. Iron Synergy took second place in the VA Post 7 contest; and Arch Mountain Laural took third place in the VA Post 7 contest.


The two-day Post 7 and Governor’s Cup winners were Wellmore Coal Company, first; Iron Synergy, second; and Buchanan Minerals, third.


The events were hosted by MCPA, VA Post 7, Virginia Energy and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). The Governor’s Cup competition was held Tuesday and the Overmountain contest was Wednesday.


Bench, Pre-Shift, Team Tech and First Aid individual skills contests were held Thursday.


Winners in the individual skills contests were as follows:


BG-4 Bench: first, Brad Hawkins, Paramont Contura; second, Robbie Middleton, Paramont Contura; and third, Eric Lewis, Iron Synergy.


Biomarine: first place went to Josh Chambers, Arch Coal.


Pre-Shift:, Joey Sykes, Paramont Contura, won first place; Frankie Moore, Paramont Contura, second; and Robbie Middleton, Paramont Contura, third.


Team Tech: first place went to Adam Phillips and Joey Sykes, Paramont Contura; second, Anthony Harvey and Andrew Altrey, Metinvest Affinity; and third, George Smith and Justin Harvey, Metinvest Affinity.


First Aid: first place went to Paramont Contura; second went to Iron Synergy; and third, to Wellmore Coal Company.


Teams competing in the contests this year were as follows:


Affinity Mine Complex Affinity Mine Rescue: George Smith, Captain; Oscar Hughes; Mark Rutherford; Justin Sargent; Anthony Harvey; Josh Sizemore, BO; Troy Hill, patient; Andrew Altrey, CCA; Roger Bryson, alternate; and Johnny Smith, alternate. Josh Sizemore is the team trainer.


Wellmore Coal Company, Wellmore Team: Joey Fuller, Captain; Anthony Grizzle; Johnny Branham; Jordan Curry; Chris Turner; Todd Ward, BO; Johnathan Little; and Josh Diles. Chris Turner is the team trainer.


Arch/Mountain Laurel: Gary Richardson, Captain; Dave Vickers; Steve Bailey; Scott Tomblin; Josh Chambers; Mike Balls, BO; Josh Blackburn, patient; Jeremy Thombson, CCA; Donovan Daniels, Alternate; and Jeremy Manns, Alternate. Gary Richardson is the team trainer.


Iron Senergy, Cumberland Blue: Brett Balabon, Captain; Eric Lewis; Leo Kozich; Josh McCartney; Justin Corso; Chris Lewis, BO; Gary Valusek Jr., patient; Chris Hartman, CCA; and Rob Hutchison, Alternate. Darren Blankenship is the team trainer.


Coking Coal, Black Bears: Jon Lundy, Captain; Steven Madden; Tyler Brock; David Jones; Kenny Stanford; John Tomlinson, BO; and Brandon Helton, patient. John Tomlinson is the team trainer.


Paramont Contura: Adam Phillips, Captain; Frankie Moore; Brian Keith; Joey Sykes; Eric Collins; Brad Hawkins, BO; Robbie Middleton, patient; and Casey Mooneyhan, CCA. Dave Dillon is the team trainer.


Virginia Small Operators Mine Rescue (VSOMR): Billy Graham Jr., Captain; Tim Smith; John Allen; Bradley Moore; Colby Freeman; Lester Mullins, BO; and Josh Williams, patient. Tim Kiser is the team trainer.


Southern Pocahontas Apache: Robbie Ortiz, Captain; Jason Owens; Chad Sloane; Dakota Cecil; Donald Hagerman; Mark Muncy, BO; Michael Edwards, patient; Austin Brooks, CCA’ Gary Newcomb, Alternate; and Josh Smith, Alternate. Robbie Ortiz is the team trainer.


Buchanan Minerals, LLC/Buchanan Gold Team: Stephen Vittoe, Captain; Keith Richardson; Jesse Yates; Cory Viers; Zack Dye; and Justin Vest. Barry Baker is the team trainer.


Bench, Pre-Shift, Team Tech and First Aid on Thursday:


Affinity Mine Complex: (First Aid) Oscar Hughes; Josh Sizemore; and Mark Rutherford; (BG-4) Roger Bryson and Troy Hill; (Pre-Shift) Mark Rutherford; (Team Tech) George Smith, Justin Sargent, Anthony Harvey and Andrew Altrey.


Wellmore Coal Company: (First Aid) Jordan Curry; Brandon Rasnake; and Chris Turner; (BG-4) Joey Fuller and Todd Ward; (Pre-Shift) Johnny Branham; and (Team Tech) Johnathan Little and Joey Fuller.


WVU Extension: (BG-4) John Helmick.


Arch/Mountain Laurel: (First Aid) Dave Vickers; Donovan Daniels; and Josh Blackburn; (240-R) Josh Chambers; and (Team Tech) Mike Balls and Steve Bailey.


Iron Senergy, Cumberland Blue: (First Aid) Chris Hartman; Josh McCartney; and Eric Lewis; (BG-4) Rob Hutchison and Gary Valusek Jr.; and (Team Tech) Justin Corso and Chris Lewis.


Paramont/Contura: (First Aid) Eric Collins; Brian Keith; and Frankie Moore; (BG-4) Robbie Middleton; Casey Mooneyhan; and Brad Hawkins; (Pre-Shift) Frankie Moore and Joey Sykes; and (Team Tech) Adam Phillips and Joey Sykes.


Next year’s mine rescue contests will be held June 10-12, 2025.

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