Nine state highway workers earn trophies at District 9 ‘roadeo’
Top winners advance to state competition Aug. 20
FLEMINGSBURG, Ky. – Nine Kentucky Department of Highways crew members from Mason, Fleming, Nicholas and Rowan counties received trophies recently in the District 9 Equipment Roadeo, with top winners earning a chance to compete at the state-level competition Aug. 20-21 in Lawrenceburg.
The annual competition – an integral part of the Transportation Cabinet’s safety and training programs – brings together highway equipment operators from the district’s county maintenance facilities for a day of friendly competition and fellowship, and provides an opportunity for operators to showcase and enhance their skills while preparing for snow and ice removal season.
At this year’s roadeo, Todd Plank of Rowan County maintenance took first place in the Truck and Snow Plow Road Course, followed by Mark Florence of Fleming County maintenance in second place, and Duane Dehart of Rowan County maintenance in third.
In the backhoe competition, Bryon Mitchell of Fleming County maintenance once again took first place honors, followed again by Ronnie Thompson of Fleming County in second and Duane Dehart of Rowan County in third.
Mark Rath, Mason County maintenance superintendent, took the lead in the grader competition to earn first place, with Bryon Mitchell of Fleming in second and James Hickerson of Fleming in third.
And, in the tractor mower event, Todd Plank earned the first place trophy for Rowan County, followed by Jessie Smith of Nicholas County maintenance in second, and Clyde “Addie” Thomas of the Morehead structures crew in third.
Tallying scores from each competition, Todd Plank placed first to take the overall trophy in this year’s roadeo. And Rowan County maintenance took home the overall crew trophy, scoring the most points among the District 9 counties competing.
Roadeos, which are open to any Transportation Cabinet employee who has a commercial driver’s license, take place in highway districts throughout Kentucky. Highway equipment operators gather for safety talks and training, and compete among their peers in four skill contests that simulate actual situations they might encounter in the performance of their duties:
· Truck and Plow Road Course, which tests an operator’s precision driving techniques as they negotiate a truck with an attached snow plow blade through a tight turn in a confined space and maneuver through a lane to avoid hitting obstacles that mimic conditions encountered while plowing snow from roadways.
· Grader Competition, which tests operators’ proficiency using a grader to evenly spread gravel, asphalt and other materials on roadways.
· Backhoe Competition, which tests an operator’s ability to maneuver the hoe bucket in tight quarters around culverts or other drainage structures. Competitors must move golf balls around obstacles using a special hoe attachment.
· Tractor Mower Competition, which includes a road obstacle course to test operators’ ability using mowers in confined spaces encountered along roadways.
“It requires expertise to properly operate snow plows, end loaders, graders and other equipment,” said Bart Bryant, District 9’s chief engineer. “These competitions showcase the high level of skill and professionalism that our crew members exhibit each day in keeping the state's highways maintained.”
More than 50 highway equipment operators competed at District 9’s roadeo held July 25 at Maysville. Top finishers advance to the state finals Aug. 20-21 to compete against equipment operators from the Transportation Cabinet’s 11 other highway districts. And this year, a regional competition with participants from Kentucky and several nearby states will be held at the Kentucky Horse Park in September.