Bus drivers showcase skill and patience at Alberta School Bus Roadeo

By Scott Roblin
June 11, 2018 - 5:10pm

MEDICINE HAT, AB – Some of Alberta’s top school bus drivers landed in Medicine Hat this past weekend, but they weren’t on hand to pick up students.

The 2018 Alberta School Bus Roadeo was held at the Stampede Grounds on Saturday, testing drivers on their skill, patience, and agility on the road.

Close to 70 drivers from across the province were evaluated in a number of events such as reversing, parking, and overall road knowledge.

Event organizer Lisa Carriere said there are many skilled drivers across the province that don’t always get the credit they deserve.

“It’s amazing how some of these drivers are so professional and know that equipment right to the millimetre of how close they can get to backing up and putting it in a parallel park,” said Carriere.

One of the competitors on Saturday was Prairie Rose School Division driver Jacki Dickinson, who took home first place earlier this month at the regional competition in Calgary.

She said it was complete surprise when she heard her name announced as the south region winner.

“I was very shocked,” said Dickinson. “I’ve never accomplished something like that and it was very exciting when I heard my name being called.”

Although she didn’t take home the provincial championship, Dickinson said she was pleased with her performance on Saturday.

Driving school buses in the area for four years, Dickinson added it’s personal anytime she gets behind the wheel.

“My grandpa drove a school bus for 36 years and I always looked up to grandpa,” said Dickinson. “He's not here with us anymore and I want to keep it in his honour.”

Both the long and small bus competitions were won by Calgary drivers, with Nathaniel O’Coin and Chris O’Brien taking first place in their respective divisions.

They’ll head south of the border later this year to take part in the International School Bus Roadeo competition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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