CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Billy Wiseman, a school bus operator from Kanawha County, was among the top contenders at the National School Transportation Association’s 39th Annual School Bus Driver International Safety Competition held recently in Greensboro, N.C.
Wiseman captured a third place finish in the large conventional class, the most popular class among the 106 drivers competing in the competition. Ed Rollins of Harrison County placed 15th and Mary Slate of Kanawha County placed 25th in the same class.
The national competition followed the Southeastern School Bus Safety Roadeo in Pikeville, Ky., where drivers from 14 southeastern states, including West Virginia, competed. The regional event saw David Riffle of Harrison County finish first, followed by Wiseman, Rollins and Slate. Kevin Weiss of Monroe County finished ninth.
Drivers advanced to the regional competition after participating in the West Virginia Bus Roadeo in Lewisburg. Wiseman was selected Grand Champion, while Marshall County was named Team Champion for the second year in a row.
In the state competition’s Transit Class, Tom Norris, Marshall County, finished first; Robert Williams, Wood County, was second; and Lisa Fisher, Kanawha County, and Eddie Haught, Tyler County, tied for third.
Also at the state level in the small conventional class, Mark Ullom, Marshall County, was first; Linda Lou Gibson, Logan, second; and Rick Blake, Marshall, third. In the large conventional class, Wiseman finished first, followed by Riffle and Don Harris, Marshall County.
West Virginia drivers faced a simulated course of everyday bus routes and techniques in the annual bus roadeo, sponsored by the West Virginia Department of Education and the West Virginia Association of Pupil Transportation. Contestants are scored on their abilities to handle and maneuver a railroad crossing, driving in reverse, parking, pre-trip inspection, diminishing clearance, offset alley, as well as straight-line driving.
“West Virginia bus operators face different road conditions than drivers in other states and we continue to prove that we have some of the safest drivers in the nation,” said Ben Shew, executive director for the Office of School Transportation.
For more information, contact the West Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699.
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