The Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) is celebrating three decades of safety, performance, and commitment.
About 30 CDTA drivers are competing for the coveted championship Roadeo title. The rain added a challenge to the obstacle course.
“It’s personal, we do it for fun, but we take this personal our driving skills to see who has the best skills,” John Gonzalez, CDTA Operator in Schenectady, said.
Gonzalez has been driving for CDTA for some 13 years. He says the Roadeo isn’t just about bragging rights, there’s also a huge sense of pride and comradery.
“It’s basically an obstacle course, and you have to maneuver around cones and do serpentine turns and everything like that. The hardest obstacle will be the backing up because there are a lot of blind areas that you can’t see.”
Local law enforcement officials volunteer their time as judges by assessing driving skills, knowledge of safety rules and time performance.
Jaime Watson, the communications director for CDTA, says a lot of the obstacles here today are situations that they encounter every day out on the road.
“They’re driving through barrels, really close so that would simulate being out in a city street with cars on both sides, there are some obstacles where they are backing up,” Watson said. “So what we try to do is take everyday skills that they use out on the road and bring them to this closed course and let them compete in a friendly and fun manner.”
In the past, Gonzalez says he took 6th and 10th place, but he tells me he’s got a good feeling about this year.
“It means a lot this year to us and I’m looking forward to winning.”
Win or lose, just being here today is an accomplishment.
Watson tells me the 30 drivers here are the best of the best out of the four divisions in Albany, Schenectady, Troy, and Saratoga.
“They have outstanding safety records and outstanding driving records and those are the eligibility requirements for the operators to be able to compete. We have more than 400 operators but not all of them are eligible to compete.”
The top three finishers will represent CDTA in the state Roadeo held annually in the fall. Finalists, there will have the opportunity to compete in the international rodeo in the spring.
“Basically every year we have someone from CDTA moving on to the international Roadeo to compete. It’s a real honor not only for that operator and the division they are representing but for the company to have that representation.”