Mississippi Department of Transportation highway workers competed in the annual "Heavy Equipment Operators Roadeo."
It's an event that may help you appreciate the skill it takes to operate some of that heavy road equipment.
This is not your typical driving range. More than seventy experienced MDOT heavy equipment operators took the skills they use on the highways to compete in the annual heavy equipment roadeo. the contest takes immense skill and tenacity.
Scott Horton is a heavy equipment operator and competed in the competition. Horton says, "it's tough, it's really tough you know you gotta know what you're doing and it's about the same as going out on the road and trying not to run over anybody."
The competition requires each contestant to perform a number of skills with six different pieces of heavy equipment. One of the challenges involves placing five golf balls in cylinders with a backhoe.
Mark McConnell, an Assistant Chief Engineer for MDOT says "there's a little tooth on the end of the backhoe and it's got a one inch washer, we put five golf balls in a sandbox and they have to pick up the golf ball with that washer and then drop it into five different cylinders."
Other challenges involve parallel parking and backing up into an alley dock without hitting the dock, and weaving in and out of barrels without knocking them down.
Horton says, "a lot of it comes down to just luck, a lot of it, like I say you really have to know what you're doing."
One of the main goals of this competition is to recognize MDOT workers for all of the hard work that they do. They say it takes a lot of skill and talent to maneuver many of this heavy trucks."
Horton's wife Lisa Horton says, "it takes a lot of talent for what they do you know it's hard to do some of the stuff they do."
The winners from Friday's competition will go onto the regional's.
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