Transit, Street Departments hold annual Roadeo


City of Sidney Vice Mayor Steve Wagner watches one of the City of Sidney Snow Plow Roadeo contestants maneuvers the serpentine turn, one of the ten obstacles that is part of the Snow Plow Roadeo. Wagner has been helping judge the contest for more than a decade.

City of Sidney Vice Mayor Steve Wagner watches one of the City of Sidney Snow Plow Roadeo contestants maneuvers the serpentine turn, one of the ten obstacles that is part of the Snow Plow Roadeo. Wagner has been helping judge the contest for more than a decade.


Courtesy photo

SIDNEY — Drivers for Shelby Public Transit and the operators of the snow plows for the city of Sidney’s Street Department participated in the annual Snow Plow & Transit Roadeo recently. The annual event is held on an obstacle course set up on the parking lot at Custenborder Field.

“The inaugural event was held in 2007,” Sidney Street Superintendent Brian Green said. “It has been held every year since excepting 2020, when the pandemic forced the cancellation of the Roadeo. “The Roadeo serves as a refresher to the operators before the winter season begins. Operators also get to showcase their driving skills and maneuvering abilities in the large plow trucks as they navigate the course.

“The winner and runner-up receive plaques with their names on them,” Green said. “Our judges along the course usually include department heads and members of city council. The obstacles are narrowed when Transit buses run the course. It serves as an excellent training exercise for their drivers as well.”

The day began with the divers for Shelby Public Transit showcasing their skills. They were not deterred by the slight drizzle.

Finishing first of the participating transit drivers was Carol Voorhees-Elliott. She scored 853 points, and has been driving for Shelby Public Transit since 2017.

Megan Harvey finished second amongst the transit drivers with 846 points. Harvey has been driving for Shelby Public Transit since April.

Larry Murtz finished third in the transit competition. He accumulated 843 points, and has been driving for Shelby Public Transit since 2016.

The transit competition consists of four parts. Those include a written test, the pre-trip examination, wheelchair securement and driving the course.

On the written quiz, Carol Voorhees-Elliott scored 100 points. Finishing second was Carol Argabright with 96 points. There was a three-way tie for third place between Larry Murtz, John Kohler and Randy Snider, all of whom scored 88 points.

The pre-trip examination provided the drivers the opportunity to spot five vehicle deficiencies. Jim Davis finished that portion of the competition in 8 minutes and 45 seconds. It took Randy Snider just five seconds more to spot the problems. John Kohler found the five deficiencies in 9 minutes and 10 seconds.

The wheelchair securement portion of the competition is timed. Jim Davis completed the task in 4 minutes and 24 seconds. Mitch Perry completed the task in 4 minutes and 30 seconds. Megan Harvey finished in 5 minutes and 45 seconds.

A perfect score for driving the course was 500 points. Megan Harvey received 460 points, Carol Voorhees-Elliott received 455, and John Kohler received 405 points.

”The Roadeo is an important training opportunity for Shelby Public Transit,” Transit Manager Ron Schalow said. “The Roadeo gives our bus operators a safe venue for practicing difficult driving maneuvers. That results in increased safety for our passengers and the public.”

Following lunch, the nineteen snow plow operators began their competition. The bright and sunny weather contributed to the lively banter between drivers as they competed, maneuvering the plows through the ten obstacles that comprised the course.

The obstacles were all intended to simulate the real-life conditions snow plow drivers face while operating plows on city streets and alleyways. Some of those obstacles included dead-end streets, cul-de-sacs, narrow streets and alleyways, tight turning radii, right and left hand turns, and cars parked away from the curb.

In addition to the driving portion of the test, there is a written test. This year, no drivers scored a perfect score (500 points) on the written test. Two of the drivers scored 400 points. They included Kurt Poeppelman and Jeremy Martin. The written test was 13% of the final score.

The course is also timed. The fastest time this year was logged by Zack Brandewie, who was clocked at 3:14. Finishing just a second behind was Mitch Heuing at 3:15. Bryce Rittenhouse finished just two seconds off the winning time at 3:16. Andy Meyer and Kyle Maslowski both logged times of 3:20

Only one driver finished the timed driving portion of the test receiving 400 points. That driver was Zack Brandewie. The driving portion of the test was 11% of the final score.

Receiving 2,973 points to finish first in the Snow Plow Roadeo was Kurt Poeppelman. Poppelman has been employed by the city of Sidney for 17 years.

Receiving 2,874 points and finishing in second place was Mitch Heuing. Heuing been employed by the city of Sidney for just 2 years.

Receiving 2,832 points and finishing in third place was Ben Smith. Smith has been employed by the city of Sidney for 15 years.

Receiving 2,775 points and finishing in fourth place was Ethan Schemmel. Schemmel was hired to work for the city of Sidney in May!.

Receiving 2,773 points and finishing in fifth place was Bryce Rittenhouse. Rittenhouse has been employed by the city of Sidney almost three years.

Finishing out the top 10 were Jimmy Hanes (6), Mark Tennery (7), Zach Brandewie (8), Jason Stewart (9), and Blaine Helmlinger (10).

Fourth Ward Councilmember Steve Wagner has served as a judge for the Roadeo. He has served as a judge since he was first elected to office in 2011.

“Every year I help judge the Roadeo, I’m amazed by the tremendous skill levels of our drivers,” Wagner said. “I enjoy the experience tremendously. It’s too bad our citizens can’t see how skillfully the drivers are able to maneuver their trucks through a difficult course.”

Also attending the event were Mayor Mardie Milligan and Councilmembers Scott Roddy and Jenny VanMatre.

As in past years, there were no injuries at this year’s Roadeo. There were, however, a few orange cones that were a bit worse for wear at the conclusion of the event.

City of Sidney Vice Mayor Steve Wagner watches one of the City of Sidney Snow Plow Roadeo contestants maneuvers the serpentine turn, one of the ten obstacles that is part of the Snow Plow Roadeo. Wagner has been helping judge the contest for more than a decade.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/11/web1_roadeo.jpegCity of Sidney Vice Mayor Steve Wagner watches one of the City of Sidney Snow Plow Roadeo contestants maneuvers the serpentine turn, one of the ten obstacles that is part of the Snow Plow Roadeo. Wagner has been helping judge the contest for more than a decade. Courtesy photo