CHARLESTON, W.Va. – School bus operators from Harrison and Kanawha counties captured the top three spots at the 26th Annual Southeastern School Bus Roadeo in Pikeville, Ky.
Ed Rollins of Harrison County claimed the championship with 653 of 700 possible points. Drivers from five states – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and West Virginia – competed in the event. Winners advance to the international competition.
Finishing second was Mary Slate of Kanawha County with 644 points, followed by Billy Wiseman, also of Kanawha County, with 640 points. Rounding out the Top 10 were Brian Newhouse, Kanawha County, 633 points; Tim Eskew, Cullman County, Ala., 630 points; David Riffle, Harrison County, 621 points; Siggi Urban, Sarasota County, Fla., 613 points; Patrick Dean, Morgan County, Ala., 610 points; Vol Jones, Cullman County, Ala., 592 points; and Joey Goodpaster, Cabell County, 588 points.
“West Virginia bus operators face more challenging road conditions than drivers in most other states,” said state Superintendent of Schools Jim Phares. “Nearly 230,000 children safely travel about 46 million miles of roadway in West Virginia every year on about 3,000 school buses. Our drivers continually prove they are among the safest drivers in the nation."
In the roadeo, drivers face a simulated course of everyday bus routes and techniques in the annual bus roadeo. 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. Team winners are chosen by taking all team members scores and dividing the total by the number of drivers on that team. The team with the highest average wins.
Rollins joined with Urban and John Labus of Cabell County Schools to win the team competition. They were the only team of less than four competitors, so while their point total ranked last they logged the highest average score with 608.333 points.
For more information, contact the West Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Communication at 304-558-2699.