Operator David Nelson, #69177, has been competing in the Bus Roadeo since he joined Metro Transit seven years ago.
And while he participates in the annual skills competition mostly for fun, he admits he genuinely hoped to come out on top. After placing in the top 20 several times, this was the year that finally happened.
“I think it had a lot to do with experience,” Nelson said after receiving his trophy at South Garage. “I’ve learned how to perfect each obstacle over the years.”
Operators who compete in the Bus Roadeo go through a series of obstacles that test their driving skills on a closed course. The competition also include a written customer service exam and a uniform inspection.
Nelson earned a nearly perfect score – 621 out of a possible 625 points. Those skills carry over to the road, too: he’s yet to have a responsible collision during his career.
Nelson will now represent Metro Transit at the American Public Transportation Association’s International Bus Rodeo, which will be held next year in Reno, Nev. Other top competitors will participate in the state Bus Roadeo, hosted by the Minnesota Public Transit Association.
Metro Transit’s 2016 competition drew a record number of competitors, including a large number of operators who were hired within the last five years.
Other top finishers include:
- > Second Place: Heywood Operator Jack Berner, #8927 (Berner has won Metro Transit’s Bus Roadeo five of the last nine years, including 2014 and 2015)
- > Third Place: Heywood Operator Michael Stenberg, #71018 (Stenberg won Metro Transit’s Bus Roadeo in 2013)
- > Fourth Place: East Metro Operator David Palm, #2410
- > Fifth Place: Nicollet Operator Douglas John, #72493
- Operator Randy Webb, #207, was named the Garage Champion for the Martin J. Ruter Garage
- > Rookie of the Year: East Metro Operator Ger Yang, #64137