Five employees from the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Culpeper District earned championship trophies at the annual equipment operators’ competition on June 1 and 2.
The event, known as the RoadEO, began in 1988 and is held annually to encourage VDOT employees to prioritize safety and to promote skill advancement for those whose jobs require the operation of heavy equipment. The event features skills contests on the backhoe, motor grader, tractor with mower and dump truck.
In each event, operators must maneuver around a course or perform tasks that require a high degree of expertise and control. For example, in the backhoe competition, operators must use a spoon-like tool attached to the equipment’s bucket to lift five golf balls from a sandbox and drop them into cylinders of varying diameter. The dump-truck competitions use an obstacle course with multiple skills stations, including parallel parking and serpentine backing through construction barrels.
To qualify for the competition, each operator must complete the required daily safety check of their equipment, which is also timed and scored by judges.
Culpeper District Engineer John Lynch said, “This friendly competition is VDOT’s annual opportunity to highlight our safety culture as well as demonstrate our operators’ skills, which we all rely on for high-quality road maintenance, as well as during snow season and emergencies.”
This year, more than 100 equipment operators took part in at least one of the five events at Culpeper District’s RoadEO. Each operator was scored for his ability to complete the tasks as well as the time required. The district winners in each competition, with their work unit, were:
- Single-axle dump truck: Terry Rought Jr., Equipment Repair Technician, Culpeper District Shop. Rought lives in Locust Grove and has worked for VDOT for four years.
- Tandem-axle dump truck: Chad Price, Transportation Operator, Keene Area Headquarters. Price lives in Scottsville; he has worked for VDOT for eight years.
- Backhoe: Greg Roberts, Transportation Operator, Free Union Area Headquarters. Roberts is a five-year VDOT veteran and lives in Stanardsville.
- Motor grader: Auburn McNutt Jr., Supervisor, Boyd Tavern Area Headquarters. The Dillwyn resident has worked for VDOT for three years.
- Tractor mower: Scott Garrett, Transportation Operator, Gordonsville Area Headquarters. For three years, the Louisa resident has been a VDOT employee.
These five will advance to represent Culpeper District in VDOT’s statewide RoadEO on Aug. 4 at the Meadow Event Park near Doswell. Statewide winners will move on to a regional competition against operators from ten other states, to be held in Savannah, Georgia in September.