DOBSON – Reflective orange and yellow seemed to be the unofficial colors this week at Surry Community College.
Nearly 70 N.C. Department of Transportation employees from Division 11 — comprised of Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Caldwell, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes, Yadkin — sported the safety colors during the annual safety and skills competition.
The employees competed in one of six disciplines and put the skills they use everyday in the field to a challenge on a level playing field. Each event is designed to show the driving, operating and safety skills necessary to perform everyday tasks improving safety and road conditions for North Carolina residents.
Truck drivers — single axle, tandem axle and a low-boy driver — made their way through a slalom course, parking drills and a safety check. Tractor mower operators weaved their way through a tight course. Backhoe operators scooped a golf ball from sand with a spoon attached to the bucket. And motorgrader drivers leveled their blade to tap tennis balls from a plastic tee.
“This is one of our most important and largest safety sessions of the year,” Division 11 Safety Engineer Doug McConnell said. “Everybody picks up tips from everybody else that they can use every day.”
The top two in each of the six competition received a plaque for their accomplishment. The winners advance to the state competition to be held later this year in Raleigh.
The winners from Division 11:
Single Axle Truck: Philip Woodring, Watauga County Equipment
Tandem Axle Truck: Zac Roupe, Ashe County Bridge
Low-boy Truck: Lonnie Phipps, Ashe Maintenance
Backhoe: Tony Cleary, Yadkin Maintenance
Motorgrader: Kerry Mabe, Alleghany Maintenance
Tractor-Mower: Bobby Edwards, Alleghany Equipment