A six-person team of truck and equipment operators from Johnston, Wilson and Nash and counties won the top prize in the annual state “Roadeo” championship last week.
The employees captured the Team Competition crown during the N.C. Department of Transportation’s State Roadeo Championship. They work for the department’s Highway Division 4, and they collectively beat teams of equipment operators from the department’s other 13 highway divisions.
NCDOT holds the event every year at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh to recognize employees who skillfully operate heavy equipment, such as backhoes, dump trucks and tractors. The driving contests include maneuvering trucks between orange cones, steering motor graders through a tight obstacle course, and plucking tennis balls off small posts with an improvised tool used only during the competition. Pictures from the state event can be viewed on NCDOT’s flickr page.
“The main goal of the Roadeo is to promote safety and improve how our employees operate heavy equipment out in the field,” said Debroah Leonard, PhD, the safety engineer for the department’s Division 4, which comprises Edgecombe, Halifax, Johnston, Nash, Wayne and Wilson counties.
This is the second time the team from Division 4 has won the title at the state event. The winning team members are:
• Daniel Evans, a Nash County motor-grader operator
• Vincent Farmer, a Wilson County tractor/mower operator
• Kenny Davis, a Johnston County maintenance employee who drives a tandem dump truck
• Isaac Ethridge, a single-axle dump truck driver in the Wilson County maintenance office
• Cliff Jenkins, a backhoe operator for the Wilson County maintenance office
• Wayne Boone, a lowboy truck operator based in Wilson
In addition, three of the team members who won individual categories at the state roadeo will go on to the regional competition in September in Arkansas. They are Evans and Farmer, who finished first place in their respective equipment categories, and Ethridge, who placed second.