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Skill, History and the Latest Transit Technology Highlight the 2011 Bus and Maintenance Roadeo

Andrew Busch
SEPTA Press Officer

A mix of hard-nosed competition, displays of the latest transit technology, and a nod to the past marked the 2011 SEPTA Bus and Maintenance Roadeo.

The annual event was held in the parking area of the Cornwells Heights Station in Bensalem on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011. Hundreds attended, including SEPTA employees, their family members and other guests. They came out to watch the contestants square off while enjoying food and fun activities, including face-painting, a moon bounce and a dunk tank.

Transit buffs also added a welcomed touch of nostalgia to the day, proudly showing off vintage transit vehicles. Other displays featured retired SEPTA vehicles and buses from other transit agencies, such as New Jersey Transit and New York's MTA. The displays added history and an interesting contrast to the event, as they were parked just feet away from the competition, which showcased the latest in transit technology via SEPTA electric-diesel hybrid vehicles. Operators used these low-emission, fuel-efficient hybrids to navigate the course.

The vehicle displays this year featured two buses that served Philadelphia area riders during the pre-SEPTA period. Many eyes were drawn to a 1950s-era Philadelphia Transit Company (PTC) bus, which was the subject of an extensive overhaul that was completed earlier this year. The vehicle has been restored to its former glory, including vintage-correct seats and interior equipment and a sparkling exterior finish that has brought back its original PTC color scheme. The PTC bus was displayed next to another SEPTA predecessor from the same era, a 1950s Red Arrow Division bus, which was also rescued and restored to vintage specs.

The vintage displays and festivities provided plenty of fun and smiles for spectators, but on the course, SEPTA personnel had their game faces on as they worked through bus obstacle courses and maintenance competitions.

"SEPTA is very proud of its talented workforce," said General Manager Joseph M. Casey. "Events like this provide an opportunity for operators and maintenance personnel to showcase the skills they bring with them to work every day."

The high skill level on display at the Roadeo made it difficult to pick winners, but at the end of the day, judges had to tally scores and pick winners. The top three operators and maintenance workers from the 2011 event are as follows.

Bus Operators: First Place Overall Operator, Zenon John Rinylo (Southern Depot); Second Place Overall Operator, Victor Tarver (Callowhill Depot); Third Place Overall Operator, Carl Porter (Allegheny Depot).

Maintenance Personnel: First Place Overall Maintenance Team, Midvale Mud Dogs - Bill Biern, Joe Miller, Gene Bonner; Second Place Overall Maintenance Team, Southern Team No. 1 - Ron Hebner, Anselmo Espiritu, Joe Roccuzzo, Bernard Johnson; Third Place Overall Maintenance Team, Midvale 2011 - Mike Westerfer, Mike Westerfer, Jr., Gerry Sheeron, Al Lepofsky.

The 2011 SEPTA Bus and Maintenance Roadeo was held at the Cornwells Heights Station in Bensalem.

A bus navigates the course.

Fans cheer on an operator approaching the finish line.

The Roadeo dunk tank.

A recently restored 1950s PTC bus was a big draw.