It may still be warm and sunny outside, but that’s not stopping public works from preparing for winter.
Wednesday, they brought out the heavy equipment and held its annual “roadeo” event. Yes, that is spelled correctly!
Equipment used for plowing snow throughout our rough North Dakota winters is run periodically throughout the summer.
But as we head into the fall, the heavy machinery is revved up and ready to go to prepare for long hours.
Matthew Vukelich from Bismarck Public Works said, “You know, we can get called in any time of the night.”
The annual roadeo event is some good practice for seasoned veterans, as well as some good training for new faces on the crew.
The new employees have the opportunity to learn from those that have been on the job for a while, and it’s proving to be beneficial.
Chad Schiermeister, the heavy equipment operator crew leader, said, “Because when you’re out on that piece of equipment, the only way to ask somebody something is on the radio, and you don’t want that much chatter on the radio.”
There was plenty of chatter during the friendly competition, as these roadeo stars were faced with some difficult obstacles.
The events were made up of everything from reversing through cones to driving through a tight roundabout.
“It’s gonna be different when you get out on the streets with the public moving around, and cars and stuff like that. They get some training beforehand but it still takes years to get the experience,” said Schiermeister.
That experience was evaluated by scorekeepers judging on a number of criteria.
Some of the criteria are as tenuous as knocking a tennis ball off of a mini cone, while others measure the distance between the plow and a barricade.
“We do it for competition and for us to get ready for the winter,” said Schiermeister.
As beautiful as a fresh blanket of snow can be, it’s important that we can all safely get to where we need to be.
Last year’s roadeo event was canceled due to the pandemic.
The plows this year were decorated by children at the Public Works Day celebration, which was held this past Saturday.