On target

On target

At first glance, shooting clay pigeons and working on electric power lines may not seem to have a lot in common. But Dave Salmons, who’s no stranger to either endeavor, sees some definite commonalities.

Salmons is a first-class lineworker with 35 years of line work under his belt, the longest-serving lineman currently working at Logan County Electric Cooperative in Bellefontaine. He says it’s the day-to-day challenges and camaraderie with his team that keep him going.

You might say those same work aspects — along with a paramount focus on safety and propensity for braving the elements — also apply to Salmons’ hobby of shooting sporting clays.

Dave Salmons with the trophy that gets passed around among the friends in his shooting group.

Dave Salmons with the trophy that gets passed around among the friends in his shooting group.

Dave says his job as a lineworker at Logan County Electric Cooperative is similar to his hobby because both require intense concentration on safety.
Dave enjoys the camaraderie that’s an integral part of both his work and his hobby.

Salmons picked up the hobby about 17 years ago after visiting a local fish and game club, and quickly found it got his competitive juices flowing. Competitors walk through the woods, stopping at stations where they take aim at clay “birds” — targets mechanically thrown into the air.

Each competitor shoots 50 targets, keeping score and trying to improve over time. 

“We have a group of six or seven guys that get together,” he says. “We don’t shoot in the big state tournaments or anything like that, but we have three gun clubs within 30 minutes of us, so we have a traveling rotation of those courses that allows us to shoot almost every weekend. We’re pretty competitive just among us; we have our own traveling trophy and everything.”

Like co-op line work, he says, “Safety is paramount. We’ve been shooting together for years, and if one of us steps out of the station and doesn’t (safely) open his gun, the rest of the guys are watching.”

It’s the same on the job, where all the lineworkers — seasoned veterans and younger ones alike — watch out for one another, he says. “The camaraderie we have with each other is important,” he says. “We may joke around, but we take things seriously, too.”

Salmons’ group heads out most weekends, in all sorts of weather. “We shoot if it’s raining or snowing,” he says. “We’ve even been out there when it’s 4 below zero. We can be pretty ‘die-hard.’” 

Salmons and his wife, Marna, a retired fourth-grade teacher at Indian Lake Elementary in Lewistown, were high school sweethearts at Elgin High School in Marion. They have two grown sons: Colman, 34, a supervisor at Amazon in Columbus; and Mark, 31, a supervisor at Midwest Express in East Liberty.  

When he’s not working on power lines or out shooting with his group, Salmons also enjoys a bit of woodworking, but lately, he’s found another pursuit that’s taking up more and more of his time.

“We have three grandkids, and another on the way this month,” Salmons says. “We’re learning that, as grandparents, you can’t ever get enough time with your grandkids, but they’re nearby, so we try to test that as much as we can.”