By: Kara Duffy
April 30, 2013
Colquitt County, GA- For more than 30 years, bus drivers in Colquitt County have been going head to head in the School Bus Rodeo.
"We joke around, we play around, we egg each other on about how I'm going to beat you, you're going to beat me; It's whoever can be the best," said Larry Robinson, a Colquitt County bus driver of more than 13 years.
Fellow Colquitt County bus driver, Dennis Eubanks, added, "We set this course up early and we practice for about a month and we make it competitive with some drivers and make it fun!"
School officials, however, say it's much more than just a friendly competition. The drivers' skills are tested on a 10-challenge course.
"The different skill stations the drivers are going through simulate the day to day activities that they have to deal with; bus stops, railroad crossings, curbs, parking; those type of things," said Mickey Key, Colquitt County Schools Assistant Superintendent.
Judges then score the drivers on how safely and accurately they've completed the courses.
"Those that didn't perform to the standard we feel they should have performed to, will be brought back in and we retest them and go through the stations again."
Drivers say, regardless of who wins the rodeo, they all share one prize; the students.
"It helps us take our jobs very seriously, because we haul around the most precious cargo in the world," Eubanks said.
The two drivers who score the highest will go on to compete in the state competition in June.
The winners of that challenge, will then go on to Nationals.