CINCINNATI— First Student drivers had an impressive showing at the recent 34th Annual Alberta Provincial School Bus Roadeo held in Hinton, Alberta. Drivers from First Student locations across Alberta competed with each other and their counterparts from other companies. First Student drivers dominated the top ten of the Big Bus category and took first place honors in both the Big Bus and Small Bus categories. The Small Bus category was new this year to the Alberta competition. Additionally, the four-member Top Place Team included three First Student drivers.
A roadeo at its core is all about safety. Only drivers with no preventable accidents are eligible to compete. Those drivers who choose to compete must first win at the local level to be eligible to compete at the provincial level and then ultimately on to international completion. Drivers are evaluated in both written and road course tests designed to reinforce their training.
“It takes a significant degree of skill to drive a school bus and have a group of students behind you travelling down the highway,” shared Tammy Freerksen, Location Manager of Rimbey and 2nd place winner in the Big Bus category. “Your focus must be on the road, on the students, and on other hazards as they present themselves in your path. Drivers have to constantly work on their skills and the School Bus Roadeo is an excellent opportunity to take the time yearly to put the emphasis on practicing those skills.”
The First Student drivers who successfully took on the challenge this year are:
- Paula Gladstone – First Student Rimbey – 1st Place in Small Bus
- Craig Kanner – First Student Calgary – 1st Place in Big Bus
- Tammy Freerksen – First Student Rimbey – 2nd Place in Big Bus
- Lisa Bower-Ensor – First Student Rimbey – 4th Place in Big Bus; Top Place Team
- Dodo Freerksen – First Student Rimbey – 7th Place in Big Bus; Top Place Team
- Maria Peters – First Student Taber – 8th Place in Big Bus; Top Place Team
- Teri Unruh – First Student Taber – 9th Place in Big Bus.
Paula Gladstone, Craig Kanner and Tammy Freerksen are eligible to go on and compete at the 44th Annual School Bus Driver International Safety Competition to be held July 19-20 in Charleston, South Carolina.