PROVIDENCE, RI – On Sunday, May 31, in a highly-competitive field, Maine’s six-time transit bus driving champion, David Webster, (pictured above) placed a respectable 5th at the Community Transportation Association of America National Community Transportation Roadeo in Providence, RI.
“It was a good challenge and a lot of fun,” said Webster, an 18-year veteran “Green Bus” paratransit driver for Auburn’s Western Maine Transportation Services. Sixty-two bus drivers and 22 van drivers took part in the event under hot sunny skies. “There were a number of past champions and I’m pleased to have finished ahead of many of them. The buses supplied for the competition were even larger than the ones we drive and had significant rear overhangs beyond the rear tires, along with wide body moldings, making it impossible to see the rear tires with the side mirrors,” Webster said.
“I thought I had a run lined up well for one of the skills tests, but at the last second something didn’t look quite right, but it was too late to correct and, sure enough, I managed to knock out 50 points worth of traffic cones. That would have been enough for the win. I also had the tail bump a 25-point cone. Coming out of the competition, I didn’t think I had even made it into the top ten and when they announced that I had won 5th place, I was pretty surprised. That also told me just how hard the course had been on everyone else,” Webster said.
The 2009 Bus Roadeo featured a comprehensive written test, 10 precision driving skills tests and two additional tests: a pre-trip checklist test where competitors had to find hidden defects with the vehicle, and a wheelchair tie-down safety test.
“I’m very proud, not just of David’s daunting accomplishment of winning for a sixth straight year at the State level, but of his performance, professionalism and sportsmanship at the Nationals,” said Pat Christian, general manager at Western Maine Transportation Services.
Webster, a resident of Wales and the runner-up at last year’s national event in New Orleans, was also the National Champion at the Orlando Roadeo in 2006. One consolation for Webster is that the driver who won last year’s event by 1 point was ranked 10 places behind him this year.
What are Webster’s plans? He’s already looking forward to next year’s State Roadeo and, hopefully, to the National Roadeo in Long Beach, CA next spring.