The sleeve of Jack Berner’s grey Metro Transit sweater is already home to an impressive collection of blue chevrons commemorating each of his 13 Bus Roadeo wins.
And now he has one more. After earning a near-perfect score, Berner was named the 2018 Bus Roadeo champion this week.
With each win, he earns bragging rights, a trophy and a blue chevron to stitch onto his uniform. “I think I can fit another one on there,” the 29-year operator said this week.
Berner has competed in 22 Bus Roadeos and won six of the past seven years. He narrowly missed the top spot in 2016.
On the Roadeo course, operators maneuver around cones, tennis balls and signs, winning points for precision. Top finishers can be separated by less than a few inches.
Berner says his success comes not just from experience but an innate ability to judge distances.
“I don’t really have a set thing, I’ve just always been really good at estimating,” Berner said.
Participating in the Roadeo for the first time, fellow Heywood operator Bradley Schnieder turned to the perennial champ for advice.
It worked. Schnieder, a five-year operator, had the best score among this year’s first-time participants, earning Rookie of the Year honors.
Heywood operator Kenneth Schmoll took second overall and East Metro operator David Palm took third. The top finishers from other garages were:
- > Timothy Hnida, Ruter Garage
- > Mark Ogburn, Nicollet Garage
- > Doug John, South Garage