School Bus Drivers Saddle Up

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin

April 14, 2006

Students in Louisa County started their spring break Friday, but they were not the only ones getting ready to have fun.

Bus drivers for the county were having some fun, all in the name of safety.

Saddle up, we take you to the School Bus Rodeo.

"This is a fun event, and we'd like to keep it that way," said Kenny Forrest, the Director of Louisa County's Schools Transportation Department.

Fourteen Louisa County school bus drivers competed in the annual Bus Rodeo in the Louisa County High School parking lot.

"They keep us informed of everything that's changed, and what's going to change, and what we have to do," said Sharon Brascher, a bus driver competing in the rodeo.

The drivers competed against each other while navigating their 36 foot yellow school buses through an obstacle course.

"Of course, they are scored on each element, and the individual highest total of points is our first place winner," added Forrest.

They parallel parked, made sharp right turns, backed up between cones, and even drove straight through a line of tennis balls. This driving can sometimes be hard on Louisa County's back roads.

"It's very hard sometimes, especially when you have the kids behind you," added Brascher.

The drivers' skills behind the wheel were put to the test without kids. Law enforcement was there to make sure they were doing it right.

"Actually, they did pretty well. I think their biggest problem was their first approach. If they did not line up perfectly on the approach--then they were going to have problems all the way through the course," said Major Donald Lowe of the Louisa County Sheriff's Department.

The bus drivers had lots of fun during today's rodeo which gave them an opportunity to brush up on their techniques while driving everyday. That's why they take it so seriously.

"The serious element of it would be just improving your skills, and working at those things that are going to improve you as an individual, as a driver out there doing your daily tasks," added Forrest.

The winner of the rodeo was Sharon Brascher. She moves on to the state competition which will be held in Roanoke in June.


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