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Magoffin County team claims top spot in District 10 Roadeo championship

From H.B. Elkins
KYTC, Dist. 10

JACKSON, Ky. – The crew from the Magoffin County state highway garage broke Morgan County’s streak of four consecutive championships in the Department of Highways District 10’s annual Equipment Operators Safety Training Conference and Roadeo by winning the 2023 competition. It was the eighth time the crew from Salyersville has won the competition in its 16-year history, which was revived last year after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19 concerns.

Morgan County’s Blake Elam was the overall individual championship for the second straight year, compiling the best total score from all six events that make up the competition.

This year’s Roadeo was held May 24-25 at the Beattyville Equipment Garage and Lee County Maintenance facility. Sunny skies with cooler than normal temperatures and breezy conditions made for a pleasant event, after rain pushed back Day 2 of the competition last year.

The annual Roadeo brings equipment operators from the district’s maintenance garages together for a day of friendly competition and fellowship. The event allows equipment operators from the district’s crews to show their skills in operating the equipment they use to maintain state highways in the district. The obstacle courses simulate actual situations equipment operators may encounter in the performance of their duties. The event is officially known as the Equipment Operators Safety Training Conference, and participants received training in the use of seat belts through the rollover simulator exhibit sponsored by the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety.

Individual event winners were:
• Backhoe: Chad Conway, Menifee County first place; Blake Elam, Morgan County, second place.
• Snowplow obstacle course (single-axle truck): Josh Howard, Magoffin County, first place; Johnathon Roberts, Morgan County, second place.
• Snowplow obstacle course (double-axle tandem truck): Landon Lawson, Morgan County, first place; Scotty Oney, Morgan County, second place.
• Tractor with mower: Ben Montgomery, Menifee County, first place; Blake Elam, Morgan County, second place.
• Grader: Josh Howard Magoffin County, first place; Mitch Tyra, Wolfe County, second place.
• Lowboy tractor-trailer: Johnnie Bentley, Magoffin County, first place; Matt Kirby, Estill County, second place.

The individual contest winners and runners-up will advance to a statewide competition against participants from the other 11 highway districts across Kentucky, to be held at the Kentucky Horse Park June 27-28. State winners will be eligible to participate in the annual Southeastern Regional Equipment Operators Safety Training Conference competition, to be held in Beckley, W.Va., later this year.

“Once again, our Roadeo was a success due to the hard work of so many of our staff members,” said Corbett Caudill, chief district engineer. “Our county maintenance crew members have to work in all sorts of weather conditions and are subject to being called out at any time of the day or night. Our winter was lighter than normal, thankfully, but we’ve responded to a large number of mudslides, rockfalls, breaks in pavement, and flooded roads the past couple of years. Our personnel do an excellent job maintaining our state highways and reacting to emergency situations caused by the weather or other issues. Operating the equipment necessary to maintain our highways year-round, and to keep them clear of snow and ice in the winter, takes a lot of skill and knowledge. The Roadeo gives our employees a chance to show off their abilities. It also lets them know that even though they work in different counties, they are all part of one team and that we appreciate all of them for their effort and hard work.”

District 10 encompasses the counties of Breathitt, Estill, Lee, Magoffin, Menifee, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Powell and Wolfe in east-central and southeastern Kentucky.

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