PW driver takes top honours

Winners of the Zone 5 [Northwest] School Bus Roadeo in High Prairie on May 25 receive their trophies. Left-right, are second place Carmen Pelletier, first place winner Ken Wilhite, and third place winner Kelly Bertin.

School bus drivers shine in zone roadeo

Richard Froese
South Peace News

A Falher bus driver finished in the top three in the fourth annual Zone 5 [Northwest] School Bus Roadeo in High Prairie on May 25, hosted by the High Prairie School Division.

Veteran driver Carmen Pelletier placed second in the event that drew 15 contestants, says Harry Davis, director of transportation for HPSD and event co-ordinator.

She also finished second in 2017 and 2016, but did not place in the top three in 2018.

Ken Wilhite of Peace Wapiti School Division in Grande Prairie won the title while Kelly Bertin of Peace Wapiti finished third.

The top finishers qualify for the Alberta School Bus Roadeo on June 8 in Red Deer.

“All drivers had a great time,” Davis says.

“Every participant enthusiastically welcomed the challenging events and had fun doing it.

“They are to be applauded.”

Drivers were required to perform 12 events to test their bus driving skills, such as parallel parking, reversing, driving in a straight line, offset alley, right turn, stopping at a railway crossing and at a stop sign, and pre-trip inspections, along with a written exam of 50 questions with multiple choice.

The roadeo also included drivers from Northland School Division and Kapawe’no First Nation.

Drivers from the Fort Vermilion School District and Peace River School Division also planned to participate, but wildfires in areas around High Level and north of Peace River kept them away, Davis says.

Bus drivers in school divisions around Alberta are a big family to each other, he says.

“When a division or area is threatened, we are all concerned, and supportive of their challenges,” Davis says.

“Our thoughts and best wishes go out to them and their communities.”

Davis thanks division trustees, staff, judges, and those who donated prizes to support the event.

Past winners

2019 [15 Drivers]

Driver School Division-Home Town

  1. Ken Wilhite Peace-Wapiti – Grande Prairie
  2. Carmen Pelletier High Prairie – Falher
  3. Kelly Bertin Peace Wapiti – Grande Prairie

2018 [17 Drivers]

Driver School Division-Home Town

  1. Kirsten Burger High Prairie
  2. Kevin Auger Northland
  3. Candace Barber High Prairie
  4. Donna Duke Peace Wapiti

2017 [14 Drivers]

Driver School Division-HomeTown

  1. Melody Tollefsrud Peace Wapiti – Grande Prairie
  2. Carmen Pelletier High Prairie – Falher
  3. Candace Barber High Prairie – High Prairie

2016 [20 Drivers]

Driver School Division-Home Town

  1. Jamie Bilyk High Prairie – High Prairie
  2. Carmen Pelletier High Prairie – Falher
  3. Larry Auger High Prairie – High Prairie
  4. Mary Reade High Prairie
  5. Candace Barber High Prairie – High Prairie
  6. Myrna Lanctot High Prairie – Falher

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