2023 Iowa DOT Truck Roadeo engages DOTers and provides a competitive training opportunity

TruckGetting behind the wheel of a huge orange truck for the first time can be pretty intimidating. These complicated machines take a great deal of skill to operate effectively. Throw in skid loaders, mini excavators, and other pieces of equipment, and our highway staff of all levels need to be highly skilled and receive excellent training to get everything done to keep you safer on Iowa’s highways.

One fun and effective way to get the training our field forces need is through competition. This year our Maintenance Bureau brought back a traditional training tool, the Truck Roadeo.

Jason Fisher

Jason Fisher, training coordinator in the Maintenance Bureau, said, “The Truck Roadeo is something that was done regularly in the past, but we haven’t had one in almost 20 years. We decided to start it up again because it brings people together to learn from each other and share information. It’s a great opportunity for our field staff from all over the state to get to know each other. These relationships are vital to our success when we’re in the middle of a large snow event and we’re sharing information and resources. This competition gets to the heart of our core values of Safety First and People Matter.”

IMG_8281In developing the competition, Fisher and Moe Mohamed, assistant director of the Maintenance Bureau, took a look at data to determine which pieces of equipment were being used and if our field staff could benefit from additional training on that equipment.

They determined that the competition would include skills testing on the operation of dump trucks, skid loaders, and mini-excavators.

2023 Roadeo locationsFisher said, “We decided to hold six district competitions over the summer, each with 24 competitors. Each person competed on the same course in all three categories. The top two finishers from each district competed in a statewide event in Oskaloosa in September.”

Fisher developed a scoring system and other competition details to make the contest fair for all competitors. 

Truck Roadeo winners
The winners are (left to right) third place, Dillon Thompson, highway tech associate, Elkader Garage; second place Ethan Bertram, highway tech associate, Donnellson Garage; first place, Austin Burgett, highway tech associate, Chariton Garage

Cory Kirkpatrick, highway maintenance supervisor in DeSoto said, “The people in my shop have a competitive side to them, so they were excited about this. This helped them get additional training on the new equipment and hone their skills on everything.”

Several of the competitors hadn’t been in the mini-excavator before,” said Jason Sallach, District 4 Maintenance Manager. “We’re starting to get more of these in the field, so getting up-to-speed on them will help them when they go back to their shops.”

Fisher added, “We could take advantage of this time to work one-on-one in a controlled environment. It’s a very safe way to get the training accomplished and allow staff to get to know one another in a fun and engaging environment.”

Safety First and People Matter. They aren’t just buzzwords for us. We live these core values every day.




Find out more about the 2023 Iowa DOT Truck Roadeo 


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