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November 14, 2019

Roadeo Determines Best of the West

We now know who’s best in the far west.

More than 100 N.C. Department of Transportation employees from the ten westernmost counties tested their skills on May 10 and 11 operating the heavy machinery they use daily to improve the roads for visitors and North Carolina residents. The competition, known as the Roadeo, was held at the Haywood County Maintenance Yard.

Employees competed in six categories that emphasized the importance of heavy equipment safety while honing their skills and fostering a sense of team spirit.

Backhoe operators lifted golf balls from sand and deposited them in buckets the size of coffee cans. Motor grader drivers knocked tennis balls off an orange perch. Truck and tractor drivers maneuvered through an obstacle course and stopped an inch away from the target.

“Safety is involved in every aspect of these friendly competitions, and the event as a whole emphasizes personal safety when operating these vehicles and taking those essential skills into the field,” Division 14 Safety Engineer Candie Auvil said. “It’s nice to get together once a year to showcase our skill and emphasize safety and training.”

Winners in each category from the 14 divisions across the state advance to the statewide Roadeo on Aug. 3 at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh.

A photo gallery is available online.

First place winners were:

  • Tractor mower: Nathan Franklin, Jackson County Environmental
  • Backhoe: Alan Cochran, Macon County Bridge Maintenance
  • Lowboy tractor: Verlon Enloe, Cherokee County Maintenance
  • Motor grader: Jeff Gregory, Macon County Maintenance
  • Single axle truck: Blake Brooks, Clay County Maintenance
  • Tandem axle truck: Jacob Jones, Jackson County Maintenance

“We had good fun, accomplished a lot, and picked up some safety pointers,” Division 14 Engineer Ed Green said. “I always enjoy seeing everybody get together and share some pointers. We have a good group going to Raleigh for the state competition.”

About The Author

Andy has worked in broadcasting around Western North Carolina over the last 17 years. He serves as the Operations Manager and Program Director for WRGC and WBHN. “I’ve been with the crew here at Five Forty Broadcasting since the idea of bringing the station back to Jackson County at 540-AM. I feel a personal connection with community radio and the area”. In the past, Andy has worked with iHeart Media and Sky Country Broadcasting. He resides in Haywood County.

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