Aug. 28, 2008
VDOT’S BRISTOL DISTRICT SNOWFIGHTERS’ COMPETITION HELD TODAY (Wednesday, August 27, 2008)
ABINGDON – Employees from the Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT) Bristol District competed today in the annual snowfighters’ competition.
VDOT’s Snowfighters’ Competition is held each summer to test drivers’ skills before the winter snow season begins. Over 60 equipment operators from around the district competed today in five different events, which are similar to the events used at the Southeast U.S. Snowfighters' Event being held September 30 – October 2 in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
In this year’s single axle truck competition, the winner was Scott Call, 12-year VDOT veteran working as an operator for the Marion area headquarters in Smyth County. Second place went to Danny Owens, a 26-year veteran who works as a supervisor for the Deskins sub-area headquarters in Buchanan County. Third place was awarded to Jack Laney, 15-year crew member with the Coeburn area headquarters in Wise County.
The single axle truck competition gives employees an opportunity to test their job skills in situations similar to those encountered on the road. Operators drive a three-ton dump truck, equipped with an 11-foot snow plow, through a series of obstacle courses simulating such maneuvers as plowing snow away from fixed objects, parallel parking, braking to a stop, mirror backing and backing to a loading dock.
First place in the backhoe competition went to Call and second place went to Jason Funk, operator for the Volney area headquarters in Grayson County with nine years of service. Third place was awarded to 19-year veteran Daryl Brown, operator for the Springville area headquarters in Tazewell County.
In the backhoe competition operators use a standard tractor equipped with an excavator, referred to as the "bucket," equipped with an object that is used to place golf balls into buckets ranging from standard size to small. The competition demonstrates operators’ abilities to control the excavator.
In the tandem competition, first place went to Harmon Kilgore, maintenance manager for VDOT’s Wise Residency with 19 years of service. Second place was awarded to 20-year veteran Jimmy Mitchell, maintenance supervisor for the Ewing area headquarters. Third place went to Kevin Copenhaver, bridge and sign crew member for the Wytheville Residency with 13 years of service.
The tandem truck event uses a driving course similar to the single axle truck competition. A tandem truck is a larger vehicle, weighing between 5 and 7 tons.
Two new categories were added to this year’s event, the mower tractor and the motor grader.
First place in the mower tractor event went to Robert Cornwell, 21-year veteran with VDOT working as an operator for the Springville area headquarters in Tazewell County. Second place was awarded to Tony Sullivan who has 9 years of service working as an operator for the Marion area headquarters in Smyth County. Third place was awarded to Michael Parks, operator for the Marion area headquarters in Smyth County with 14 years of service.
In the mower tractor event, drivers maneuver through a twisting and turning course to test driving and backing skills.
In the motor grader event, first place went to 29-year veteran Beecher Hess, operator for the Deskins sub-area headquarters in Buchanan County. Second place in the event went to William Ball, operator for the Blackford area headquarters in Russell County with eight years of service. Third place was awarded to Funk.
The motor grader event tests operators’ control of the grader blade. Drivers knock tennis balls off pedestals with the grader blade without knocking down the pedestal itself.
Each first place winner will compete in the district truck competition in Richmond in September.
Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.