Two Iowans have earned the title of being the state’s best bus drivers by winning the 28th annual Iowa Public Transit Association “Roadeo” in Davenport. Association president Mark Little of Waterloo says there are 35 public transit systems in the state with several hundred drivers employed — and only those who are the most skilled behind the wheel compete at the state level. “All transit systems in Iowa send drivers to compete in two divisions,” Little says, “one’s the large bus division and the small bus division.”

The list of finalists was narrowed to 40 and they all faced the same challenging course. “It’s an obstacle course and there’s ten different areas of competition, all the way from a serpentine to backing, left turns, right turns, right-hand reverses, some diminishing clearance where they have to go through barrels,” Little says. “It’s a very tough course and it’s a good way to show off their skills.”

The winner in the large bus division is Paul Klimesh with Ames Transit/Cy-Ride. The small bus division winner is Dan Dopson of the Clinton MTA. The large bus division winner, Klimesh, will go on to compete in the national “roadeo” finals next spring in Fort Worth, Texas. Little says more than 23-million rides are provided every year by Iowa’s transit systems.

(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)