By Pat Maurer
40 drivers, representing 13 transit agencies competed for the “top driver” spot at the first annual Mid-Michigan Regional Small Bus Roadeo at the CCTC in Harrison Saturday.
Deanna Hughes of Gladwin took home first place honors in the event, with second place going to Dan Miller of Clinton; third to Harold Smith of Gladwin; and “Top Rookie” designation going to Robert Sample of Sanilac.
The event, where drivers from each agency competed, was “a skills course using Clare County Transit busses and geared toward honing safety,” said CCTC Director Tom Pirnstill.
The top three drivers from each agency qualified for the State Roadeo, to be held in Mount Pleasant July 19th. The top three drivers of the State Roadeo will go to the National Roadeo.
The course featured ten “stations” where drivers navigated through an obstacle course made with traffic cones. Judges were at each of the stations to mark the driver’s progress and skill level. “These events showcase the drivers ability to present their skill levels in navigating a road course, conduct a bus inspection and answering a written test that pertain to the rules that a bus driver must know to serve the public safely,” said Pirnstill.
The event was organized by the staff of Clare County Transit and sponsored in cooperation with MDOT and the state associations that represent Michigan transits, Michigan Public Transportation Association (MPTA) and the Michigan Association of Transportation Systems (MASSTrans).
Additional sponsors included Chemical Bank, Crystal Computer Support, Harrison “Do it” Center, Art’s Electric, Cops and Doughnuts, Hubbard Law, J. Ranck, Ricon, Rousch, Steve’s Market, Tamarack Golf Course and Witbeck’s. “We appreciate their support,” Pirnstill said.
Agencies represented at the event included Saginaw Transit, Twin Cities Area, Sanilac, Mecosta Osceola, Gladwin, Shiawassee, Greater Lapeer, Clinton, Clare County Transit, Iosco, Yates, Isabella and Cadillac/Wexford.