Five VDOT operators earn top honors in Roadeo Competition

From more than 100 competitors, five Culpeper District equipment operators earned first-place trophies in the district’s annual skills competition. The operators will advance to the statewide competition to represent Culpeper District.

vdotHeld annually since 1988, the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Roadeo emphasizes safe operation of the heavy equipment that VDOT crews use every day, and provides an opportunity for friendly competition as the operators demonstrate their skill in maneuvering dump trucks, backhoes, motor graders and tractor mowers through obstacle courses and other skill stations.

Culpeper District Engineer John Lynch said, “Our operators focus every day on safely completing the tasks they are assigned. Proper operation of the equipment is critical to meeting that goal, and the Roadeo gives them an opportunity to reinforce that safety culture and demonstrate their skills while also engaging in a friendly competition with other operators and work units.”

The events vary depending on the equipment. The dump truck event includes parallel parking, backing into a simulated loading dock and driving forward and backwards through a serpentine course. The backhoe event involves using the bucket to pick up golf balls and dropping them into a succession of small tubes, while the motor grader operators must deftly maneuver the large blade to knock a series of tennis ball off a post without disturbing the posts.

To qualify for the competition, each operator must successfully complete a safety inspection of the equipment they will be operating. The inspection, which is identical to the daily checklist each operator performs, is timed and scored by the contest judges.

In each event, the operators were scored on their ability to complete the skill station as well as the time required. The district winners in each event, with their work unit, were:

  • Single-axle dump truck: Terry Rought Jr. of Locust Grove, who won the competition for the third consecutive year. Rought works in the Culpeper District Shop.
  • Tandem-axle dump truck: Robert Price of Scottsville, Keene Area Headquarters
  • Backhoe: Albert Jenkins Jr. of Locust Dale, Madison Area Headquarters
  • Motor grader: Terry Rought Jr.
  • Tractor mower: Scott Garrett of Louisa, Charlottesville bridge crew
  • Low-boy equipment transporter: David Cox of Stanardsville, District Equipment Shop

The five event winners will represent Culpeper District in the statewide Roadeo, which will be held Aug. 3 at the Meadow Event Park in Doswell. Terry Rought will not be able to attend the competition so second-place finisher Rodney Jenkins of Stanardsville, who works at the Free Union Area Headquarters, will represent the district in the motor grader competition.Michael Smith of Washington, who works at the Rappahannock Area Headquarters and finished second in the single-axle truck, will compete in that event. The statewide winners will advance to a regional competition that will be held in the fall.

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