The Bus Roadeo’s “Big Shoot Out”

A fun aspect of Capital Metro’s Bus Roadeo is the annual “Big Shoot Out,” an event that basically allows all of us underlings to make (good-natured) fun of our esteemed leaders as they try to drive the same competition course as our professional bus and van operators.

This year, the big shoot out will be between the general managers of our three major service providers: StarTran, First Transit, and Veolia.

To get you in the spirit of the competition, here are the “trading cards” for Tear-Em Up Terry, T-Bone, and The Cone Killer.  🙂 Continue reading “The Bus Roadeo’s “Big Shoot Out””

Capital Metro Bus Roadeo Competitors

Each year, Capital Metro invites its bus operators and mechanics representing its three service providers StarTran, First Transit and Veolia to demonstrate their skill in the Bus Roadeo. The Roadeo reinforces the safety and technical training all Capital Metro bus and van operators and mechanics receive, and also facilitates team-building and camaraderie among all of the employees in the Capital Metro family. Additionally, the top winners in each category will represent Capital Metro in the state and national competitions this coming spring.

Capital Metro’s Bus and Paratransit Roadeo is this Sunday, Nov. 1, at the Leander Station and Park & Ride, and it’s open to the public. The fun begins at 8 a.m.

Come cheer on your favorite bus or van operator. Here’s the list of competitors in each category: Continue reading “Capital Metro Bus Roadeo Competitors”

MetroAccess Driver Takes Silver

Capital MetroAccess Van Operator Jeff Mercer brought home a 2nd place trophy from the National Paratransit Roadeo in Providence, Rhode Island, on May 31. Competing against 61 other drivers from throughout the nation, Jeff missed first place by a mere 18 points (out of 1,000 total).

Jeff was a definite underdog in the competition, as this was his first time competing in the national competition.

Also competing from Capital Metro, and the current Texas State Bus Roadeo Champion, was MetroAccess Van Operator Ted Ward, who placed 21st nationally.

Way to go, Capital Metro!

Arthur tries for Four

Capital Metro Bus Operator Arthur Murillo is in Seattle, Washington, to defend his title in the 2009 International Bus Roadeo. Arthur has won the international title in the 35-foot bus competition three times. He’ll attempt tomorrow to rack up a fourth title.

Earlier today, Arthur was interviewed by Seattle Public Radio Station KOUW. Listen to the interview below.


You may be familiar with Arthur: in recognition of his third championship win last year, Capital Metro designed a bus wrap in his honor. Arthur was also voted “Best Bus Driver” in the Austin Chronicle’s readers’ poll.
But Arthur isn’t the only one representing Capital Metro at the International Bus Roadeo this week. Bus Operator Abdelkader Tenouri is competing in the 40-foot category, and Mechanics Mike Clements, Phillip O’Neal, and Gary Hosea will compete in the Vehicle Maintenance competition.

Good Luck, Capital Metro!

2009 Capital Metro Roadeo Results–UPDATED

Here’s a video recap of the 2009 Capital Metro Roadeo. Behind the cut are the full list of winners in each category. Stay tuned for the State Bus Roadeo in Dallas, April 18.

Vehicle Maintenance Team
1st: Mike Clements, Phillip O’Neal, Gary Hosea
2nd: Eddie Resendez, John Proske, Jose Santamaria
3rd: Kevin Tuel, Eddie Jimenez, Ted Garcia

MetroAccess
1st: Ted Ward
2nd: Jeff Mercer
3rd: George Guerra

35-Foot Bus
1st: Abdelkader Tenouri
2nd: Arthur Murillo
3rd: Juan Maldonado

40-Foot Bus
1st: Porfirio “Pete” Rivera
2nd: Tony Payton
3rd: Amos Underwood

The Big Shoot-Out
1st: Fred Gilliam
2nd: Mayor John Cowman

Amateur Team

1st: Detour Divas & a Dude
2nd: Thunder Road Two
3rd: Death on the Yard (A scoring error had initially placed us in 2nd place.)

Wrapping up the fun in Leander

The 2009 Capital Metro Bus & Paratransit Roadeo is offically over. Tomorrow we’ll post full results, but I don’t want to leave anyone hanging. Here’s how Juan, Mary, and George fared.

George Guerra and Juan Maldonado each took third place in their categories. Mary Molina wasn’t in the top three of her category. Her concern that she hadn’t had time to practice the course may have been a factor.

Fred Gilliam won the Big Shoot-out. Death on the Yard placed second.

Thorough judging from every angle

At each challenge on the obstacle course, judges evaluate the operator’s performance. There are also three judges onboard the bus. The team of judges working on “Death on the Yard’s” bus included bus operators Leo Guerrero and Debbie Teague, and Safety & Security Director Mark Ostertag.

Leo was judging safety habits, like the use of turn signals and seat belt. He’s been with Capital Metro since 1995 and just earned his Million Mile safety award. Debbie also joined Capital Metro in 1995, and her role today was to judge smoothness of operation. For example, during my turn behind the wheel, I got a little happy with the brakes once, and so Debbie was obliged to deduct a few points. Mark was the timekeeper–he’s been with us for 10 years, and this is the 10th local roadeo he’s helped to produce. The roadeo is one component of a comprehensive safety and training program at Capital Metro that produces our team of safe, courteous, and responsible drivers.

"Death on the Yard"


Here I present “Death on the Yard”, made up of Marketing’s Dolores Jones and yours truly. Here we are onboard our 40-foot bus just prior to our competition. We competed against “Detour Divas & a Dude” and “Thunder Road Two”.

I have no idea how we did. In the main, “real” competition, drivers must complete the course in seven minutes. They give amateurs a longer period of time, but to put it into perspective, I was responsible for driving half the course, and by the time I completed my portion, we were already at 6:49!

CEO Gilliam vs. Board Member Cowman

After the main competition, Capital Metro employees have a little bit of fun, with the “Big Shootout” and an amateur team competition.

The Big Shootout is the next competition, and Capital Metro President Fred Gilliam will compete against Leander Mayor and Capital Metro Board Member John Cowman.

They’ve met on the course before, and Fred has consistently won (which sort of makes sense, since he’s been in the public transportation industry for three decades). But, Mayor Cowman is both a competitor and a good sport.

The final competition is the amateur team competition, and I’m beginning to get nervous. I was talking big this morning, boasting about team “Death on the Yard” and our mad skills. Now I’m having a hard time remembering how to open the doors and kneel the bus. Uh-oh.

Forty footers rolling out next


Bus Operator Mary Molina has been with Capital Metro for 13 years. She’s up next in the 40-ft bus category. She says she’s not nervous just yet. She’s been through this before. Seven times before, to be exact. Two years ago she took 3rd place at the state roadeo, and last year she took 2nd place… so she’s hoping to continue the trend.

Mary is not sure how she’ll do this year–she wasn’t able to practice the course beforehand. Although the challenges at the roadeo encompass the foundation of skills needed to drive a bus safely with passengers through all kinds of traffic conditions, the competition itself is quite technical. “Everything is a little different,” Mary says. “Your mirrors and your seat position are different. It’s challenging.”

Good luck, Mary!