Two Kentucky Department of Highways District 9 crew members are in Arkansas this week with Kentucky's top truck, tractor, backhoe and grader drivers to represent their state at the Southeastern Regional Equipment Operators Safety Training Conference ‘roadeo.’
Duane Dehart, superintendent of the district's Rowan County maintenance crew, and Nick Clark, Nicholas County maintenance superintendent, will compete Sept. 4-6 in tractor mower, lowboy, snow plow and other equipment skills contests, hoping to bring home a national-level trophy for Kentucky.
Clark and Dehart, along with Jeremiah Moyers of the Fleming County maintenance crew, earned trophies in this year's statewide Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Safety and Equipment Roadeo – the qualifying event for the southeast regional competition.
Dehart took second place in the state Roadeo’s lowboy event by successfully driving a tractor trailer through an obstacle course that included parallel parking, tight turns and alley dock maneuvers.
Clark also took home second in the statewide tractor mower competition, driving a tractor with an attached mower deck through a series of tight turns and obstacles that test an operator’s roadside mowing abilities.
And, Moyers placed third in the backhoe competition – an intense skills challenge of pinpoint maneuvers where operators use a specialized backhoe bucket to move five golf balls from a sand pit into five small containers in the fastest time possible. His time
At the state Roadeo, 12 operators represented District 9: Jake Rogers of Bath County; Garrett Lowe of Elliott County; Jeremiah Moyers, Bryon Mitchell, James Hickerson and Ronnie Thompson of Fleming County; Nick Clark, Connor Earlywine, and Ryan Carpenter of Nicholas County; and Duane Dehart, Todd Plank, and Sam Stevens of Rowan County.
“Our crew members consistently earn high honors at equipment roadeos, which reflects both their dedication as state employees and the professionalism they demonstrate on the job every day maintaining our state’s highways,” said Chief District Engineer Bart Bryant. “We are proud of their accomplishments.”
Kentucky’s first and second place Roadeo winners advance to the southeast regionals to compete in the same skills contests against equipment operators from state transportation agencies in West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas. It’s hosted this year by the Arkansas DOT.
DISTRICT LEVEL ROADEO WINNERS
Those local operators who competed at the state-level Roadeo first competed at the District 9 Safety and Training Roadeo in May this year, earning gold, silver or bronze medals in four equipment skills events: Backhoe, Motor Grader, Truck and Snow Plow Road Course, and Tractor Mower.
Each event challenged operators’ skills in handling equipment under difficult circumstances and with the precision often needed in roadway repairs, and gave crew members a forum to practice and learn from each other.
At this year’s event, Connor Earlywine of Nicholas County maintenance took first place in the Truck and Snow Plow Road Course, followed by James Hickerson of Fleming County in second place, and Ryan Carpenter of Nicholas County in third.
In the Backhoe competition, Bryon Mitchell of Fleming County maintenance took first place honors, followed by fellow Fleming crew members Jeremiah Moyers in second place and James Hickerson in third.
Nick Clark of Nicholas County maintenance took the lead in the grader competition to earn first place, with Todd Plank of Rowan County in second and Jeremiah Moyers of Fleming County in third.
And, in the tractor mower event, Jake Rogers earned first place for Bath County, followed by Sam Stevens of Rowan County in second, and Mark Rath of Mason County in third.
Tallying individual scores from each competition, James Hickerson placed first to take the overall trophy in this year’s district Roadeo. And Nicholas County maintenance took home the overall crew trophy, scoring the most points among the District 9 counties competing.
(provided by Kentucky Department of Highways, District 9)