The sounds and smells were different, too. And the competition was a prelude to the hours the competitors will spend this winter removing snow and ice from the area’s state highways.
Employees from all 10 counties in the Department of Highways District 10 got together at the district's equipment garage in Beattyville on Wednesday, Sept. 2 for friendly competition, fun and fellowship at the district's annual Equipment Roadeo.
The sunny sky and pleasant late-summer temperature may have given no indication what lies ahead this winter, but the coming season was on the minds of the competitors as they took their turns in the event. Equipment operators from Breathitt, Estill, Lee, Magoffin, Menifee, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Powell and Wolfe counties got to show their skills in operating the equipment they use to maintain state highways in the district. The obstacle courses simulated actual situations equipment operators may encounter in the performance of their duties.
The Equipment Roadeo signifies the unofficial beginning of snow and ice removal season and is intended to reinforce the importance of this aspect of highway maintenance.
"Our main priority is to keep highways safe and passable," said Mark Westfall, chief district engineer. "By bringing crews from all our counties together for some friendly competition, we can stress the concept that we are all a team working together to keep the district's highways clear this winter."
- Backhoe: Greg Arvin, Estill County, first place; Darrell Rogers, Menifee County, second place
- Snowplow: Steve Howard, Magoffin County, first place; Stan Howard, Magoffin County, second place
- Alley Dock (truck with trailer): David Back, Breathitt County, first place; Richard Rogers, Estill County, second place
- Steve Howard, Magoffin County
- Overall team, Magoffin County
The individual winners will advance to a statewide competition to be held Sept. 24 in Lawrenceburg.
Basketball shooting and corn toss contests were also held for contestants to pass time while waiting to compete in the official Roadeo events. Winners were Mike Riley from Breathitt County in basketball and the team of Bryan Combs from Breathitt County and Adrian Hall from Magoffin County in the corn toss.
"This type of event helps show just how much knowledge and skill are needed to operate equipment and keep our roads in good repair,” Westfall said. “Snow and ice season sometimes tests our abilities and limits, and it's good to see that we have employees who are up to the challenge. It's also important for our employees in distant crews, who do get to have much interaction on a regular basis, to know that they are all part of one team and that we appreciate all of them for their effort and hard work."