West Virginia operators win regional Roadeo

Oct. 18, 2023
Competition includes events with six machine types.

Equipment operators from the West Virginia Department of Highways have won the Southeast Regional Roadeo.

The Roadeo is a training and safety conference in which leading equipment operators from each state compete on a course designed to test their skills. The Southeast regional included operators from 11 states. States take turns hosting the conference, with judges from each state participating in scoring each year. This year West Virginia hosted the event.

Competition takes place in six events: single axle truck, tandem axle truck, lowboy trailer, motor grader, backhoe, and tractor mower. Truck events involve running an obstacle course, parallel parking, and seeing how close drivers can back up to a bay.

In the backhoe event, operators must use a tiny spoon attached to the backhoe to pick up a golf ball and drop it into a cup. The grader event involves knocking tennis balls off a tube with the grader blade without knocking over the tube. The mower event involves driving a tractor towing a mower through an obstacle course – both forward and backward.

“It’s really valuable because it demonstrates the skill level of our operators,” said Jimmy Wriston, Secretary of West Virginia Department of Transportation, in a statement. “And they are the best in the country.

“This year, West Virginia won the trophy, and I couldn’t be more proud,” said Wriston. “I have never seen a group want something so badly, work so hard, and work together so well. This is the epitome of what the Governor talks about, ‘Know the difference between effort and achievement,’ because they put the effort out, and they achieved.

“All of the activities in this competition are designed to mirror what they actually do on the roads, and it demonstrates the highly skilled level of operators we have in all the Departments of Transportation,” said Wriston. 

“It was a fantastic couple of days,” said Wriston. “The skill level was off the charts. It literally takes your breath away to watch how precise these guys can maneuver these things and perform these operations with this equipment. And the talk of the conference, all that brand new, wonderful equipment the Governor was able to get for us.” 

West Virginia won first place overall among the 11 states in the region. Tennessee won second place. South Carolina came in third. Roadeo winners include: 

  • Motor Grader: Scott Burgess, South Carolina (1st), Joshua Williams, South Carolina (2nd), Daniel Evans, North Carolina (3rd)
  • Backhoe: Hunter Butler, Tennessee (1st), Jeremiah Law, Virginia (2nd), John Garrett, West Virginia (3rd)
  • Tandem Axle Dump Truck: Michael Pannell, Mississippi (1st), Chris Schaar, Tennessee (2nd), T.J. Pulley, Arkansas (3rd)
  • Single Axle Dump Truck: Joe Strickland, West Virginia (1st), Nick Southern, West Virginia (2nd), William Blackwell, South Carolina (3rd)
  • Tractor Truck With Lowboy: Mike Simpson, West Virginia (1st), Chad Loudin, West Virginia (2nd), Michael Carr, Tennessee (3rd)
  • Tractor Mower: Steven Ford, South Carolina (1st), Larry Carman, Tennessee (2nd), Jeff Allgood, Virginia (3rd)

Source: West Virginia Department of Transportation

About the Author

Rod Sutton

I have served as the editorial lead of Construction Equipment magazine and ConstructionEquipment.com since 2001. 

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