Fixed Route Winners L-R: Third Place; Richard Folkes, Second Place; Laprice Williams and First Place; Jocelet Reache
Paratransit Winners L-R: Third Place; Jefferson Etienne of First Transit, First Place; Mariah Hade of MV Transportation and Second Place; Dwive Thelot of First Transit
Palm Tran 2019 Bus Roadeo a Success
On May 18, 2019, Palm Tran held its first bus roadeo in 13 years. The bus roadeo course was setup at the parking lot on the campus of Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue in West Palm Beach. Paratransit operators from MV Transportation and First Transit joined Palm Tran’s fixed-route bus operators on the courses designed specifically for their respective expertise.
While the name “roadeo” comes from a traditional rodeo, the “roadeo” first started in 1937 with trucks. The trucks ran through obstacle courses similar to what buses still use the in the roadeo’s today. Experienced drivers showed off several skills; including winding through strategically placed cones, parking as close to a curb as possible, backing into a space without knocking over any cones and speeding down a straightaway, hitting the brakes before hitting a cone – if they timed it just right.
“All of these bus operators work hard every day dealing with whatever comes their way. It might be in traffic, weather conditions and yes, sometimes even with customers,” said Palm Tran Executive Director Clinton B. Forbes. “But today, they got the chance to flaunt their skills, which are impressive, while giving one another a good ribbing. Not to mention, those of us watching had a good time.”
Palm Tran veteran Bus Operator Bruce Kryger spent his free time a few days before the roadeo, practicing the course, knowing it was a timed event – seven minutes to make it through, scoring as many points as possible from the judges. “I could hardly sleep last night. My adrenaline was pumping. I couldn’t wait to get out here and have my turn to drive the course.” Said Kryger.
County Commissioners Hal Valeche, Robert Weinroth, Mayor Mack Bernard and Assistant County Administrator Todd Bonlarron along with emcees Barry O’Brien and Reggie Dee from X102.3 were all in attendance to see the competition. Eight paratransit operators and nine fixed-route bus operators competed.
Palm Tran plans to hold the next Roadeo at the beginning of 2020, sending its first place winner to the state competition. And from the state competition, it’s onto international competition. The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) puts on the International Roadeo Competition.
Fixed Route Winners
First Place: Jocelet Reache
Second Place: Laprice Williams
Third Place: Richard Folkes
First Place: Mariah Hade - MV Transportation
Second Place: Dwive Thelot - First Transit
Third Place: Jefferson Etienne - First Transit