Tulsa bus drivers went head to head to test their defensive driving skills on an obstacle course Saturday. The bus rodeo was open to drivers who pick up and drop off children who have disabilities. Of course, kids with disabilities require special attention, and organizers safe driving is of the utmost importance. But today's rodeo was also about fun.
A Tulsa County Fairgrounds parking lot was transformed into an obstacle course designed to test even the most experienced bus drivers.
Kathy Goff with Tulsa Transit: "the thing is to get through without hitting the cones. It looks easy, but I guarantee you its tough
The drivers competing in the Bus Rodeo already have a tough job, picking up and dropping off nearly 850 disabled children a day in the Tulsa area. They say the course is a way to test driving skills they use on their routes.
Driver Gary Boyoyabjain: "it kind of helps us see how the drivers are doing when they're picking up their passengers, when they're maneuvering through the cars at a parking lot, at a curb"
Driver Gerald Bellamy: "it's very important to test our skills and it gives us a chance to understand how we are as a driver and where we might need to improve.
Besides improving behind the wheel, drivers were encouraged to have a good time. And they did, while weaving their way through cones, trying not to knock over tennis balls, pulling up to a curb and going in reverse. After that, it was on to the big finish, speeding through some pretty narrow barrels, then putting on the brakes.
Kathy Goff with Tulsa Transit: "you have to make an emergency judgment stop and stop within six inches of that cone."
Judges then compiled each driver's score, but win or lose; organizers say the rodeo was a well-earned reward for their drivers. "And they love it, love it. And they certainly work very hard, very dedicated."
And the winner of this year's Bus Rodeo, driver Robert Morris. Second place goes to James Boudras. Both will go on to compete in a statewide competition.