Driver Skills and Safety Training
2022 Driver Skills and Safety Training Event (aka Snowplow Roadeo)
By Chris Bouchard, Chair
The MHA held its Driver Skills and Safety Training on July 19th, at Wachusett Mountain Ski Area under great weather at a great location. This year we had the single axle truck event and a wheel loader event for the competition. This year was our largest event to date as we had 31 loader operators compete and 27 truck teams compete, it was very competitive and helps build comradery amongst all of the competitors. MHA and the County Associations have some of the best vehicle pre trip vehicle inspectors, written test and loader operators and snowplow drivers. You’re Cities and Towns should be proud as they have trained you well.
I would like to thank all the Teams and the Cities and Towns that you represent for your participation in this training event as we would not have the event without you. Secondly the judges and the Cities, Towns and State agencies that you work for and Vendors that send judges, you are a key component to making this event happen and run smoothly and efficiently. I would also like to thank our vendor sponsors and Towns as they help us in getting the loaders and trucks we use for the running event, Baystate Roads Program for handling the registrations, advertising and judging as this helps us greatly with our event.
MHA Driver Skills Results
Single Axle Truck:
1st place – Town of Westminster, Phil Meany and James Grenier
2nd place – Town of Southbridge, Mike Pollone and Mike Zuziak
3rd place – Town of Monterey, Kyle Pettibone and Tyler Collins
1st place – Town of West Stockbridge, Frank Alfonso
2nd place – Town of Franklin, Jim Henchy
3rd place – Town of Easthampton, Adam Robbins
We traveled to the Western Snow and Ice Conference and Snowplow Roadeo National Finals in Loveland Colorado on September 27th – October 1st, in which the teams participated in the snowplow roadeo events and took some of the workshops offered at the three day event. One of the competitions is if your organization competes in all five events they will take the top three finishes from your five events for an overall winner for the competition. The teams finished very well and represented Massachusetts proudly.
National Roadeo results
Single Axle truck:
Town of Westminster, Phil Meany and Steve Arsenault finished 28th out of 47 teams.
Tandem Axle Truck:
Town of Westminster, Phil Meany and Steve Arsenault finished 29th out of 53 teams.
Town of West Stockbridge, Frank Alfonso finished 9th out of 64 operators. Less than 100 points separated 9th to 2nd.
Town of West Stockbridge, Jamie Boyer finished 28th out of 47 operators.
Chris Bouchard finished 3rd out of 39 operators.
We are trying to find out how we finished as a team for the day, we think there were only 24 teams in the running overall. These teams competed against the nation’s best snow and ice operators, great job and congratulations on your accomplishments.
How the other New England and East Coast teams finished that travelled to compete. Single Axle Truck: NEAPWA: Stoughton, 34th, RI Single Axle 30th, Maine DOT 8th, Delaware DOT 2nd and 11th, City of Manhattan 4th. Tandem Axle Truck: Delaware DOT 1st and 4th, Maine DOT 6th. Great job to all!
This event would not be possible without the help and support of the MHA Board of Directors, members and vendors. Over the winter, we will be working to take this event to an even higher level and will need your help to accomplish that task. If you would like to help, send Chris an email or give us a call and we will put you to work.
On a personal note, I need to thank a few people who have stepped up to help grow this event every year and continue to make it better and who I feel have embraced the passion I have for the event and share the vision to make it better and they also look forward to seeing old friends, peers and meeting, making new ones. Jamie Boyer, Jason Page and my daughter Jennifer. This year I don’t know if they felt plain old sorry or guilty for watching me continue to set the course in the pouring rain, and I mean pouring rain, but they were troopers and embraced the soaking right alongside me helping to get it done (at least it wasn’t thunder and lightning out like it has been in some past years), Kevin Collins for stopping by to help, as he didn’t want to miss out on any fun we were having in the rain either. Dave Desrosiers, thank you for on short notice bringing along an extra employee to help shuttle trucks back after the event. Chris and Jimmy, thank you for all you have done, you have changed me forever.
Snowplow operators test their skills during Loveland conference
Excerpts from an article by Austin Fleskes published in the Loveland Reporter-Herald
Public works specialists from around the country tested their snowplowing skills, despite a lack of snow, during an annual conference in Loveland on Wednesday, September 28th at the Ranch.
The American Public Works Association, APWA, held its 2022 Western Snow and Ice Conference and National Snow Roadeo in Loveland, for the 42nd year.
About 1,300 participants registered for this year’s conference, coming from across the state, region and country, said Pete Adler, delegate for the Colorado Chapter of the APWA.
Participants were able to take part in a number of different lectures and talks at the Embassy Suites and, for more than 200 of them, test their skills in the “Snow Roadeo” on the east side of The Ranch Complex.
Participants battled for the fastest time and best performances in a test of skills in a sea of dirt and cones for the “Snow Roadeo,” a major part of the conference.
Drivers took control of several different types of heavy machinery, from smaller skid steer vehicles to large tandem axle snowplows, which took up a large portion of the competition with 100 people testing their skills.
Participants in the tandem axle section of the event paired up and were tasked with weaving in between a cone course, making a tight fit into a coned off section at the end of the course and backing into another coned off section before the driver and passenger switched places. The new driver then raced back down the track before completing a roundabout and ultimately stopping near where they started.
Phil Meany and Steven Arsenault traveled to Colorado for their first time to represent the Massachusetts’s Highway Association at the event. After completing a tandem axle run together, they both said that they had a great time.
Phil Meany and Steven Arsenault, both with the Massachusetts Highway Association, navigate their way through a snowplow obstacle course Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022, while competing during the “Snow Roadeo” at the Ranch in Loveland. (Jenny Sparks/Loveland Reporter-Herald)
“It’s fun, gets everyone ready for the season,” he said.
Tim Brady, lead equipment operator for the Loveland Public Works Department, was out in the sun with the groups of competitors as a member of the “roadeo” committee overseeing the event.
Brady, who placed first in 2010 in the tandem axle competition, said the event is a great way to share a sense of camaraderie and reconnect with people that he may only see once a year.
“You build these friendships up with guys from across the country,” he said.
Adler said the competition is an important part of the conference and helps public works employees prepare for the coming winter months. This is especially true, he said, for crews from more mountainous towns or places that are often hit hard by snow much earlier than Loveland.
“They really get a feel for the equipment, and that’s a big deal,” he said. “You don’t want someone to go out there cold.”
The conference continued through Friday, with a number of different panels and discussions inside the Embassy Suites in north Loveland.
Who Is Eligible?
Any employee of a highway or public works department of a city or town in Massachusetts who is in possession of a valid CDL license. A team consists of two (2) eligible registrants for trucks, and one (1) eligible registrant for loader. Registration is limited to no more than two (2) teams from each city or town.
Come Join Us For:
- Valuable hands-on training exercises
- A day of friendly competition
- Awards & prizes
- Lunch for participants, courtesy of the Mass Highway Association
$35.00 for a single event, or to attend and observe.
$70.00 for combined event
Truck Team (2 person event)
Driver 1 ______________________________________
Driver 2 ______________________________________
Email registration information to firstname.lastname@example.org