After navigating a big yellow school bus through an obstacle course that tested drivers’ skills in mastering a diminishing clearance, backing, making a tight turn and parallel parking, Avery County school bus driver Mitch Banner was named the best school bus driver in North Carolina at the annual State School Bus ROADeo held last Thursday in Raleigh. Banner received a $500 cash prize and will represent North Carolina in the international school bus driving competition to be held this summer in Greensboro.
The other top nine drivers in the competition in order of finish from 2nd to 10th place were:
Byron Lanier (Wake County Schools)
Eric Turner (Hertford County Schools)
Boyce Chapman (Cabarrus County Schools)
Billy McKemey (Wake County Schools)
Andre Patterson (Public Schools of Robeson County)
Johnnie Waters (Onlsow County Schools)
John Gore (Brunswick County Schools)
Jeffrey Cassidy (Onslow County Schools)
Barerra McPherson (Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Schools)
The 2nd through 5th place finishers received $300, $200, $100 and $75, respectively. Sixth through 10th place finishers each won $50.
Thirty-two school bus drivers participated in the final testing and driving competition to name the top school bus driver in North Carolina. Thirty of the drivers advanced to the state finals by placing in the top 10 of a regional competition.
The North Carolina Pupil Transportation Association, the Division of Motor Vehicles, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s Transportation Services Section and Wake County Public School System’s Transportation Department sponsor the annual State School Bus ROADeo.