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Immediate Release - March 24, 2012


Bus Operator Lonny Earnhardt continues his reign at the top as the winner of the Charlotte Area Transit System’s (CATS) 2012 Bus Operators Roadeo.  Earnhardt, a bus operator for 33 years, will represent CATS in May when he competes in the 2012 International Bus Roadeo in Long Beach, California. 

Several other defending champions led the way in the competition as well. Repeat winners James Wimbish and Carmen Aleman finished second and third in the Bus Operations Division (BOD) Roadeo. Only nine points separated the top three winners.  Earnhardt, Wimbish and Aleman will represent CATS in the NC State Bus Roadeo competition in Wilmington this May. 

Special Transportation Service (STS) driver Gregory Girault placed first in the paratransit competition. Finishing second and third in the STS competition were Henry Minnet and Twanda Buckhalter. They, along with Girault, will also compete at the NC State Bus Roadeo event in Wilmington in May. STS transports individuals with disabilities certified as eligible according to the Americans with Disability Act (ADA).

This year approximately 20 operators took part in Saturday’s competition where participants get to put their safe driving skills to the test as they compete for a chance to be crowned the best.  Friends and families watched as bus operators demonstrate their driving and safety skills. BOD operators navigated a 40-foot bus and STS operators navigated a paratransit vehicle through an obstacle course in a safe and timely manner. The course consisted of different driving elements including passenger stops, serpentine turns and backing maneuvers. Drivers were also judged on their professional appearance, pre-trip inspection and a written safety test.

To learn more about CATS and its services, please call 704-336-7433 or visit us on the web at www.ridetransit.org.