Capital Metro Bus Operator Amos Underwood Wins Texas State Bus Roadeo

The sweet look of victory: Amos Underwood celebrates after competing in the 40-foot bus category at the Texas State Bus Roadeo.

We have the best bus drivers, the best MetroAccess drivers, and the best mechanics. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again! And this past weekend, it was proven yet again, when our team of StarTran bus and van operators and mechanics took home half of all trophies awarded at the Texas State Bus Roadeo, in San Antonio.

Bus Operator Amos Underwood is the overall 2011 Texas State Bus Roadeo Champion; he won first place in the 40-foot bus competition. Bus Operator Tony Payton took second place.

MetroAccess Van Operator Ted Ward took first place in the Paratransit Van competition. Wally Acosta took second place.

MetroAccess Van Operator Ted Ward took first place in the paratransit van competition of the Texas State Bus Roadeo. Part of the competition involves helping a rider in a wheelchair board the van, under the judges’ observation.

Bus Operator Terry Allison took third place in the 35-foot bus competition, and the vehicle maintenance team of Jaime Ayala, Ryan Foley and Phillip O’Neal took third in the maintenance competition.

Capital Metro’s state champions, along with local champions from the agency’s roadeo event held last November, will now advance to national and international competitions, representing Capital Metro and the state of Texas. Continue reading “Capital Metro Bus Operator Amos Underwood Wins Texas State Bus Roadeo”

Roadeo Results!

The smiles of champions: Employees display their trophies after placing in the 2011 Capital Metro Roadeo on Nov. 6. From left: Paul Sarle, Terry Allison, Arthur Murillo, Marcus Wright, Juan Maldonado, Pete Rivera, Tony Payton, Pamela Moore, Amos Underwood.

As Lucy mentioned, we had great weather this weekend (and some phenomenal driving) at Leander Station for the 2011 Capital Metro Roadeo.

Here’s how the results shook out:

Vehicle Maintenance

1st: Phillip O’Neal, Ryan Foley and Jaime Ayala—StarTran, Inc.

MetroAccess Van

1st:  Wally Acosta—StarTran, Inc.
2nd: George Guerra—StarTran, Inc.
3rd: Ted Ward—StarTran, Inc.
4th: Pamela Moore—StarTran, Inc.

35-Foot Bus

1st: Arthur Murillo—StarTran, Inc.
2nd: Juan Maldonado—StarTran, Inc.
3rd: Terry Allison—StarTran, Inc.
4th: Guadalupe Albarado—Veolia Transportation

40-Foot Bus

1st: Porfirio “Pete” Rivera—StarTran, Inc.
2nd: Tony Payton—StarTran, Inc.
3rd: Amos Underwood—StarTran, Inc.
4th: Marcus Wright—StarTran, Inc.

Service Island Competition, 40-Foot Bus

1st: Paul Sarle—StarTran, Inc.


My First Roadeo

A MetroAccess competitor gets ready for the "Offset" challenge.

Saturday morning found me in Leander, wearing my Roadeo T-shirt and cap as I signed in at the Judge’s table. With two other people, I was assigned to the Offset station of the course. This means that the vehicle has to go through a narrow alley of traffic cones, and then turn right and then left to get to the offset alley of cones that is the other half of this one maneuver.

On Saturday, the Offset station was the first one on the course. We had three vehicle classes to judge: MetroAccess, 35-foot buses, and 40-foot buses. Once the starter blew the whistle, the driver moved into the first set of cones.

One judge on each side watched closely to see whether a cone was touched. Sometimes the vehicle got VERY close, but no touch, so judging required paying close attention. Once the vehicle had cleared both sets of cones, the two judges reported which cones had been touched to the recording judge, who marked the official judging sheet. When all of us were sure that it was correct, we handed the sheet to one of the runners, who collected the sheets from each judging station.

It sounds simpler than it was! There were all kinds of situations. Once the bus knocked over one cone that then hit another cone, does that count as one or two? Official answer: only count the cones that the bus touched, so that’s ONE, not two. We were very careful on counting and one making sure that we adjusted the cones to have them exactly the same for every driver.

It is AMAZING what these drivers can do! Many of them touched only one or two cones on the very tight offset course. By the end of the event, we had a lot of evidence that Capital Metro has great drivers for all three vehicle classes. Kudos to them and to the training program, and here’s hoping the weather is that good at the next Roadeo, because I want to do this again.

And next time, I can say “This is NOT my first Roadeo!”

Ed. note: Lucy Galbraith is TOD manager for Capital Metro.

25th annual Capital Metro Roadeo, this weekend

Executive Vice President Elaine Timbes measures the distance on a challenge called the Judgment Stop, at last year's roadeo.

Many of my favorite bus and van operators will compete this weekend at the Capital Metro Roadeo (check the list of competitors behind the jump. Is your favorite on the list?).  The competition allows our talented employees to strut their stuff and hone their technical and customer service skills, and allows all of us a chance to get to know one another as a Capital Metro family.

It’s the best event we do, in my opinion, and I look forward to it every year. It’s open to the public, too, so come on up to Leander Station and help me cheer our guys and gals, on Saturday morning beginning at 8 a.m. Winners are announced at 2 p.m. The competition consists of a challenge course designed to test various driving skills, like the smoothness of the ride, how well you maneuver the bus through tight turns, etc. Continue reading “25th annual Capital Metro Roadeo, this weekend”