Two U.S. school bus drivers and one Canadian school bus driver won their respective divisions during the 42nd Annual School Bus Driver International Safety Competition held Saturday in Milwaukee.
Mark Koelbl of First Student's Calgary, Alberta location took home the top prize in the conventional school bus category with 643 total points. Antonio Perez of San Dieguito Unified High School District won the transit division with 574 points, and Russell Altier of Montgomery County Public Schools in Virginia finished first in the small bus division with 585 points.
A total of 98 school bus drivers participated.
In the conventional category, Michael Castaneda of Northeast ISD in Texas outdistanced third-place finisher Larry Hannon of Centennial School District in Pennsylania, last year's winner and a seven-time champion, by a score of 618 to 611. Meanwhile, Robert Parrish of First Student in Alaska finished second in transit division with 560 points followed by Randy Schwartz of Alpine School District in Utah with 549. The second-place finisher in the small bus category was Virginia Smythe of Greater Albany (Ore.) Public Schools with 504 points, and third place went to Eleanor Taylor of the Monterey (Calif.) County Office of Education with 448 points.
The event brings together the top state roadeo finishers from both the public and private sector and judges participants on a written exam as well as10 driving exercises that mimic real-world operations, including such stations as student load, railroad cross, right turn and back-up alley. The International Safety Competition is hosted by the National School Transportation Association, which is also holding its annual convention in Milwaukee this week.
Company's sponsoring the roadeo included: Bus Parts Warehouse; the Pennyslvania School Bus Association; Wilson's Bus Service; Unity Bus Parts, contractor George Krapf & Sons, Inc.; the School Transportation Association of Massachusetts; the United Motorcoach Association; Dousman Transport Company; and The TransGroup.
Editor's note — The latest version of this story corrects the school district for transit division winner Antonio Perez.