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Bus drivers take to Road-E-O circuit

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By Kelly Cantrall

The rodeo came to town Friday, but the “bulls” in question were bright yellow, and a little larger and less temperamental than usual.

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The state School Bus Safety Road-E-O took place at Elizabethtown High School, as 33 drivers competed in a precision skills test in three categories of buses.

Participants competed in 10 assessments of their skills, including parallel parking, mock loading and unloading of students and traveling through a narrowing lane. Contestants competed in either standard, transit or small-bus divisions and took a 100-question written exam, too.

Yellow buses covered the full terrain of the Elizabethtown High parking lot, as they started, stopped, backed up and parked in various places. It all was at a slow pace, as speed is not a factor in the competition, said Marshall Porter, who was competing for Hardin County Schools.

“It’s all about how precise you can be,” Porter said.

Nathan Huggins, associate superintendent for student and support services at Elizabethtown Independent Schools, is president of the Kentucky Association for Pupil Transportation, and was host of this year’s competition. It was the first time the state competition was held at Elizabethtown High School.

Winners of district and regional competitions advanced to the state round and first- and second-place winners there go on to a national competition.

Porter has driven for the district a year and a half, and this was his first year to compete. Porter said he wanted “just to see if I could do it,” and figured that he performs many of the skills tested on a daily basis, but with a bus full of children.

This also was the first year of competition for Johnnie Layne. Layne drives in the Floyd County school district.

“I think I did pretty good on this,” Layne said. He placed first in his district and second in his region.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.