County man takes 2nd in Backhoe Rodeo

  • Saturday, May 24, 2014

Clayton Stairs/South Strand News Winners of the 2014 SC American Public Works Association Backhoe Rodeo are, from left, Matthew Bishop with Charleston County in first place, Harold West with Georgetown County in second place, and Billy Shealy with Berkeley County in third place.

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When the dust settled Thursday, one person from each of the three counties represented won a trophy in the South Carolina AWPA Backhoe Rodeo.

Matthew Bishop from Charleston County won first place, Harold West with Georgetown County won second place and Billy Shealy from Berkeley County won third place.

The event, held at the Georgetown County Landfill, involved three challenges.

The first one involved moving three pipes of different sizes from one location and placing them, one at a time, inside a target placed on the ground.

The second challenge, called Pipe Drop, involved hooking a five inch pipe on a chain, carrying it to the other side of the backhoe and threading the hook into a hole in a block, breaking the connection and dropping it inside.

The third challenge involved picking up a large PVC pipe using a rope with a tennis ball attached to it and placing it on two metal stands.

Ray Funnye, Georgetown County Public Works director

“We were pleased to serve as host for the 2014 South Carolina APWA Lowcountry Branch Backhoe rodeo competition, and are especially pleased that one of our own, Harold West, brought home second place honors,” Funnye said.

He added that he’s proud of all three of his employees who competed in the rodeo – West, Anthony Vereen and Wade Wilder – and of the manner in which they represented Georgetown County.

He said he is excited that West will have a chance to again represent the county on a statewide scale in the next level of competition, and hopefully bring home the state prize.

“I am also thankful for the planning team led by Mark Cain to help plan and host the celebration and competition,” Funnye said.

West lives in Yauhannah with his wife, Tracy, and their 4-year-old son Luke, is an infrastructure inspector with Georgetown County Public Works.

He said although he operated a backhoe and a trackhoe for seven years, he only operates them occasionally now.

He has competed in 10 years has been to the state finals two other times, West said.

“It was fun,” West said after the event.

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