(Lawrenceburg) Four top place finishers in Highway District 12's annual Snow and Ice Equipment Rodeo advance this week to the state tournament scheduled for Thursday, September 1, at the Lawrenceburg Fair Grounds.
Representing the seven-county district are Danny Smith, Phelps Maintenance, overall winner; Justin Prater, Minnie Maintenance (Floyd County), first place in the snow plow contest; Mike Smith, Knott County Maintenance, first place in the backhoe contest; and Andrew Cornett, also of Knott County, first place in the low boy competition.
The Snow and Ice Roadeo is held each year as part of the district's annual training for upcoming winter weather. Heavy equipment operators from the district's 10 state maintenance garages work their way through a maze of barriers in the snow plow event, pick up a golf ball with a backhoe and place it on a pipe; and back up a low boy to a simulated loading dock to see how close they can come without touching the dock. All events are judged on skill and the amount of time each driver takes to complete the event. In the snow plow event, Danny Smith placed second and Martin Wright of Lawrence County Maintenance came in third. In the backhoe event, Danny Smith placed second and David Kilburn of Minnie Maintenance placed third. Second and third places in the low boy event were captured by Rick LeMaster of Johnson County Maintenance
and Tommy Queen of Lawrence County.
The skills of our heavy equipment operators are quite impressive, said Chief District Engineer Kevin Damron. Their skill is what keeps them, motorists, and people's property safe during critical weather events. The snow plow maze, for example, simulates mailboxes and trash cans that drivers have to negotiate when clearing snow and ice off the roads. More often than not, these men and women are driving at night with extremely low visibility. Their skill and their knowledge of their routes are essential to their ability to keep our roads as safe as possible. We are proud of all of them, and especially congratulate the winners.