When you hear the word “rodeo” most think of riding and roping cattle and horses, but in Madison County last week there was a different kind of rodeo.
Madison County School System bus drivers held their own “rodeo” of sorts, competing for top honors in maneuvering those big yellow buses through a series of obstacles designed to showcase their skill in handling the bus in their everyday duties, while providing a learning experience to improve those skills.
Each bus driver is taken through a 20-minute obstacle course that includes parallel parking, driving between embedded golf balls, maneuvering the bus through tight spaces, stopping within so many inches of a stop sign and other maneuvers. Each driver also takes a written test.
And it isn’t just the daily bus drivers who participate in the contest – anyone who drives a bus in any capacity also must participate, including coaches, teachers, etc.
At the end of the contest, which took several days to complete, the top ten scorers were awarded gift certificates given by local sponsors of the event.
Assistant transportation director Philip Croya said this is an excellent training tool for those who transport children. With a top score of 550, each participant must score at least a 300 to pass the test.
There are 120 Madison County school system employees that have the CDL licenses, including 69 regular bus drivers and eight monitors.
This year’s winners of the bus rodeo and their scores were: Deborah Wells (533), Tina Patrick (516), Carolyn Martin (513), Rita Whitehead (508), Sheryl Clayban (508), Jennifer Stanley (506), Kelly Wall (503), Brenda Poss (486), Greta Whitworth (486), Deborah Owensby (483), Stacey Booth (479) and Ed Smith (478). The top ten winners for non-drivers who hold CDL licenses were: Philip Croya (522), Tyler Berryman (496), Julie Phillips (466), Bill Kytle (461), Millard Fitzpatrick (451), William Trimier (445), Allen Ingram (435), Kenneth Segars (434), Dale Beusse (433) and Jamie Sims (430).