(L-R): Mississippi DOT District 1 maintenance engineer Matt Dunn (L) and assistant maintenance engineer Johnny Shields (R) congratulate Roadeo winners (L-R) Dennis Washington, first; Harold Johnson, second; and Joshua Curry, third.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation held its annual District Equipment Operators Roadeo for District 1 in Tupelo April 17.
Focusing on safety, efficiency and skill, MDOT's Roadeos provide employees with an opportunity to practice their mastery of vehicle handling, trailer maneuvering and heavy equipment precision. The event and judging criteria provide feedback that lets operators evaluate their strengths and challenges. Operators improve techniques and learn new skills while engaging in some friendly competition.
"Employee training is one way MDOT ensures that crews in the field are operating as safely as possible," said Commissioner Mike Tagert, Northern Transportation District. "The Roadeos allow MDOT's skilled maintenance workforce to demonstrate and practice knowledge, skills and abilities gained from experience working on Mississippi's highways."
District 1 events and winners were as follows:
- Lowboy: Mike Mink, of Blue Mountain, first; Keith Donahue, of Baldwyn, second; and Steve Bass, of Ripley, third.
- Single-Axle Dump Truck: Roger Brown, of Amory, first; Matt King, of Fulton, second; and Scottie Downs, of Booneville, third.
- Tandem-Axle Dump Truck: Stanley Reither, of Aberdeen, first; Steve Allen, of Booneville, second; and Steve Bass, of Ripley, third.
- Backhoe: Dennis Washington, of Woodland, first; Harold Johnson, of Booneville, second; and Joshua Curry, of Tishomingo, third.
- Motorgrader: Matthew Prestage, of Fulton, first; Simpson Wofford, of Mantee, second; and Kyle Wood, of Tupelo, third.
- Bushhog: Matt Barkley, of Booneville, first; Steve Tackitt, of Pontotoc, second; and Zach Barnett, of Baldwyn, third.
The top two winners from each event advanced to the state finals, which will be held May 31 in Biloxi. At the state competition, winners from all six districts will compete and a state champion will be crowned.