St. Cloud bus drivers take the high road for the Minnesota Bus Roadeo with three local drivers taking top spots.
The Bus Roadeo is an annual bus driving competition held in Bemidji and features drivers from across Minnesota. This year’s competition, held on July 21, showed that St. Cloud bus drivers can drive circles around their competitors.
Fixed-route Metro Bus driver Ken Rakke took first place in his group. Rakke will go on to compete on the international level at the International Bus Roadeo held in Indianapolis next year.
Jabin Scepurek, also a fixed-route driver, took second alongside Rakke.
Dial-a-Ride driver Todd DeZurik also placed in the competition in the small bus division, taking third. David Peacock, also from Dial-a-Ride, competed as well but did not place in this competition.
The goal of the Roadeo is not only competition, but education as well. All drivers that attend are required to go to a training course where safety and awareness is highlighted for attendees.
Drivers compete on a specially laid-out course. They must first complete a passenger stop where mock passengers are placed on the bus.
They next obstacle is a left-hand turn. From here the challenges become more difficult. Drivers then move on to a tight turn course whey they must navigate between closely placed cones.
The final challenge is a judgement stop where drivers must stop the bus next to a small object within six inches.
During the competition, drivers are scored based on a set of strict rules. They are judged based on how efficiently they can drive which includes maintaining their own vehicle, including performance and appearance, as well as how well each driver can navigate the course. Points are deducted if a driver hits a curb or if they are too far away from it.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation Rural Transit Assistance Program also offers scholarships to any students who are attending the competition. Several different groups are eligible to receive this, but it is mainly geared toward those that live in rural areas.
Other eligible groups include those that provide transportation for the elderly and persons with disabilities.
The International Bus Roadeo will take place in Indiana next year during May. Rakke will compete on courses more detailed and tough than Minnesota’s, with top drivers from across the nation.
The Minnesota Bus Roadeo was supported by the Minnesota Public Transit Association, Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Minnesota Rural Transit Assistance Program.