When overwhelming favorite California Chrome raced to victory at the 140th Kentucky Derby on Saturday, 15.3 million television viewers around the world were reminded of the importance to “Call 811 Before You Dig.“
Four members of the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), an organization dedicated to educating professionals and homeowners about the importance of following safe digging procedures, were the official sponsors of Victor Espinoza, the jockey who rode the winning colt.
Thanks in part to USA North 811, Underground Service Alert of Southern California, Dig Safely New York and Kentucky 811, Espinoza donned the bold “Call 811” logo and phone number on the side and back of his pants, as well as his turtleneck, riding boots and the ball cap he wore before and after the race. Espinoza also spread this important safety message on his official Twitter page leading up to the race.
CGA President Bob Kipp explained that given the Kentucky Derby occurs during the peak spring digging season each year, it was the perfect opportunity to promote the importance of calling 811 to millions of homeowners and professional who dig.
A call to 811, which should be done a few days before beginning a big or small digging project, connects you to a local One Call Center which gathers information about the project and alerts your local utility company. Crews then locate the utility lines near the planned project and make sure they are properly marked so you can be sure to avoid them. The process is fast, simple and free.
People digging often make risky assumptions about whether or not they should get their utility lines marked due to concerns about project delays, costs and previous calls about other projects. These assumptions can be life-threatening. According to CGA, an underground utility line is damaged every six minutes nationwide, because someone decided to dig without first calling 811.
Espinoza will again represent Call 811 as he races California Chrome in the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness, on May 17. Let us know how you will be rooting for the horse and jockey team in the comments section below.