VIA Celebrates 45th Anniversary with Roadeo Extravaganza
VIA Metropolitan Transit recently celebrated its 45th anniversary with the highly anticipated return of the Bus-Van-Maintenance Roadeo. The event honored all the dedicated employees, past and present, who have contributed to the success of the community’s transportation system over the years.
The VIA Roadeo, which includes Bus, Van, and Maintenance competitions, made a comeback on November 4th after a three-year hiatus. The event drew more than 375 employees, along with their family members and friends, who came out to show their support. In addition to the competitions, the Roadeo also featured a carnival and a car show, adding to the festive atmosphere.
The Roadeo competition tests the knowledge and skills of bus operators, van operators, and technicians through a series of timed challenges. The top competitors from VIA’s Roadeo will have the opportunity to advance to the statewide competition, which will be hosted in San Antonio next March as part of the Texas Transit Association (TTA) conference. From there, winners will have the chance to compete in the International Bus Rodeo held in Portland, Oregon in April.
During the competition, bus and van operators have seven minutes to complete an obstacle course with 11 obstacles, each worth 50 points. Penalties are assessed for making contact with cones, curbs, and barrels, as well as for unnecessary transmission shifts and other errors. The competition also includes a pre-trip inspection where operators must identify and record equipment-related defects and potential security hazards within a set time limit.
One of the highlights of the Roadeo is the paratransit operator competition, where operators are tasked with tying down and securing a wheelchair. This challenge assesses their ability to safely load and secure passengers with wheelchairs while ensuring their comfort and safety.
Notable challenges in the Roadeo course include the “serpentine,” where operators must weave through tightly spaced cones, and the crowd-favorite finale, which involves a sharp left turn followed by an acceleration to 20 mph through a narrow path of barrels, ending with an abrupt stop at a cone marker. These challenging elements of the course require precision and skill.
Rogelio “Roger” Dominguez, a retired VIA bus operator and 14-time Roadeo champion, offered his advice to competitors, emphasizing the importance of practice. He highlighted the need to continuously hone skills and become familiar with the course in order to perform at a high level.
In this year’s competition, Marcus White emerged as the champion in the bus operator category, scoring 565 out of 600 points. Jose Meza secured second place with 503 points, while Roberto Martinez took third place with 467 points. In the paratransit operator category, Jesse Rodriguez claimed the top spot, with Robert Colunga and Moises Garcia securing second and third place respectively. All six operators will advance to the statewide competition.
In the Maintenance portion of the Roadeo, six technicians competed in various modules that tested their knowledge and skills in bus maintenance and repair. Phil Davis emerged as the champion with 1,512.5 points, followed by David Berrelez in second place with 1,432.5 points, and Marcos Lopez in third place with 1,195 points.
Local civic and business leaders also took part in the fun by participating in the “Celebrity Roadeo.” Among the participants were Mayor JR Trevino of Castle Hills, John McFadden Sr. (Rey Feo LXXV), Rebecca Viagran (President/CEO of the South Texas Business Partnership), Councilwoman Phyllis Viagran, Councilwoman Dr. Adriana Rocha-Garcia, VIA Board Chair Fernando Reyes, VIA Board Vice Chair Laura Cabanilla, and the San Antonio Missions mascot, The Ballapeño.
The event concluded with an award ceremony, where the winners were recognized for their outstanding performance. VIA President/CEO Jeff Arndt, along with other VIA executives, presented the trophies to the winners in each category.
VIA Metropolitan Transit expressed its pride and admiration for all the operators and technicians who participated in the Roadeo. The organization praised their dedication, skill, and professionalism, and reiterated their confidence in the team as they prepare to compete in the statewide event next year.
The Roadeo serves as both a celebration of VIA’s 45th anniversary and a testament to the talent and expertise of its employees. It highlights the commitment to excellence that drives the organization’s mission of providing reliable and efficient transportation services to the community.
As VIA looks toward the future, it remains committed to furthering its legacy of service and innovation. The Roadeo serves as a reminder of the incredible individuals who have contributed to the success of VIA and the vital role they play in moving the community forward.