Green River Star -

By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

Drivers receive awards: bring home trophy

 


Bus drivers bring home first-place trophy after competing in a state competition.

Five Sweetwater County School District No. 2 bus drivers recently competed in the Wyoming Pupil Transportation Association’s competition.

Charmi Martinez, District 2’s transportation safety supervisor, said the volunteer group participated in the three-day event. When they weren’t taking classes, they competed in the bus rodeo, which not only includes a written test, but driving tests.

“It’s a very tough written test,” Martinez said. “It’s different every year.”

Once the written test is out of the way, the drivers have to complete various maneuvers.

One of the driving tests was called diminishing clearance, which is where a driver drives through a tunnel made out of barrels and the tunnel diminishes in width as the driver pulls forward.

“At the very end of that tunnel, you have about 2 inches of clearance on each side,” Martinez said. “It’s a scary deal.”

The drivers also must navigate over a railroad crossing. It may sounds easy, but in this maneuver, the driver must stop 15 to 50 feet away, put on the hazard lights and then make their way over the railroad tracks without switching gears. Next, the bus drivers were asked to simulate an actual bus stop. This includes activating the bus’ lights, putting the bus into neutral and using the emergency break. They also try to get as close to a stop sign as possible without going past it.

Drivers are also asked to drive in a straight line. The area they need to drive in a straight line has tennis balls on top of poles. The driver’s goal is to make it through the line without knocking any tennis balls off of those poles.

When the competition was over, the results are tallied by taking the average score of the drivers who competed for the district. Martinez said District 2 had five drivers compete and they went up against bigger districts that sent more than 15. The drivers competing for District 2 were Sandy Lee, Lavonne Wadsworth, Tracy Collar, Scott Robb and Laura Pearson and they happily received the first-place trophy. This was the first year a trophy was given out, and the drivers were happy to claim it.

“Everybody in the state was there,” Big districts, small districts,” Martinez said. “They were very proud coming home with that trophy.”

There were two divisions in the competition, transit bus, which are the flat-nosed buses and conventional buses, which are the buses with noses. Martinez and Suzi Simmons were the two judges from Green River at the competition. In the overall rodeo bus competition for individual awards, Pearson took second place. Martinez said this was the second time Pearson had received a state award. Last year, she received first place.

“These people just amaze me every day,” Martinez said. “It says that we put a lot of effort into being safe and doing things the right way.”

For next year’s competition, Martinez is hoping to get more drivers to sign up. It is all volunteer.

 

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