Deserado mine rescue team headed to national competition in September

Deserado mine rescue team ... The Black team from the Deserado mine will be headed to national competition in West Virginia in September. Front: Hank McKay (trainer), Chris Walkingshaw (command center/preshift), Dustin Donovan (briefing officer/benchman) and Rusty Barnes (first aid/benchman). Back: Duke Rich (map man/benchman), Karl Davies (captain/first aid team) Eric Popham (co-captain/preshift/first aid team) and Jared Winkler (gas man/preshift/first aid team) COURTESY PHOTO

RANGELY | The Colorado Mine Rescue Association (CMRA) held the 27th annual Colorado Coal Mine Rescue Contest in Craig the week of July 10-14. Nine teams from Colorado, Utah and New Mexico participated in the competition which consists of a timed rescue and recovery of a mock mine disaster scenario, a first aid contest, a bench competition where team members demonstrate diagnostic and repair skills on closed circuit breathing apparatus (CCBA)and a preshift competition where certified mine examiners demonstrate their abilities to identify and correct mine hazards and violations.
 Blue Mountain Energy’s Deserado “Black” team participated in the four-day event. This is one of two volunteer teams trained and maintained at the Deserado mine located northeast of Rangely. Volunteers must be bonafide employees of the mine with three years mining experience and reside within one hour of the mine site.
The contest is judged by officials from the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and officialS from the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety (DRMS). The competition ends with an award banquet where the individuals and teams with the lowest amount of docks or discounts are placed.
Day one of the contest consisted of the preshift event. Deserado’s Chris Walkingshaw of Vernal, Utah, took second place and Jared Winkler of Rangely took first place. The Black team eaned first place overall in the two-day mine rescue contest on days two and three. On the fourth day team members competed in the first aid and bench competitions. Deserado Black’s first aid team, consisting of team members Karl Davies of Vernal, Jared Winkler and Eric Popham of Rangely came in fourth. Out of 21 contestants in the bench contest, Duke Rich of Vernal took fifth. Novice benchmen Rusty Barnes and Dustin Donovan, both from Rangely, also participated.
The team will travel to Beckley. W.V., to compete for a national ranking among more than 50 mine rescue teams in September.