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SEPTA Bus Operators and Mechanics Show Skill & Pride in 31st Annual Roadeo

Manuel McDonnell Smith
Public Information Manager

For the 31st year, SEPTA's Bus Operator and Mechanical staff faced off in a friendly, but fierce competition to be crowned Grand Champions of the SEPTA Bus Roadeo. The two-day event is always a highly anticipated opportunity for our employees to put their skills to the test. In addition to prizes and the opportunity to represent SEPTA against other transit agencies in regional and international competitions, winning teams also gain best-of bragging rights that they can parade all year.

"We are incredibly proud of the professionalism and expertise that our employees deliver to their customers every day." said SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey. "The Roadeo is an opportunity for our mechanics and operators to sharpen those skills in friendly competition before their fellow employees and members of their families."

During the technical portion of the Roadeo, twelve maintenance teams of three mechanics and an alternate competed in a series of timed technical challenges which included diagnosing and repairing everything from HVAC systems to bus brakes and doors. The mechanical teams were also scored in written test portion of the event. Fifty Bus Operators from nine of SEPTA's Bus Depots competed in individual competitions that included several events including bus inspection, customer service, and a "serpentine" driving course.

For the 23rd year, Zenon "John" Rinylo was the overall grand champion of the Bus Operator portion of the Roadeo. District Winners included Joseph Motollo of Allegheny District, LaRae Deas of Callowhill District, Lester Imondi of Comly District, Reginald Reisy of Elmwood District, Sandro Gonzalez of Frankford District, Lou Tillison of Frontier District, Lamonte Oakman of Midvale District, Lamonte Walker of Southern District and Shawn Jackson of Victory District.

The Midvale Mud Dogs Team of Bill Beirn, Joe Miller, Gene Bonner and Jerry Chau also return at repeat winners as the top overall finishers of the 2015 Bus Maintenance Roadeo. The "Mud Dogs" finished first in the Brake Board, Cummins Engine, MPX-Multiplex and Vapor Door individual events. In the HVAC inspection event Midvale Shops "Emanaon" team of Mike Westerfer, Michael Westerfer and Kevin Paugh won top ranking. Courtland Shops' "Misfit Toys" took top ranking in Bus Inspection. Midvale Shops' "Emanon" team also won the HVAC and Written Test portions of the event.

The winners will represent SEPTA at the Pennsylvania Public Transportation Association (PPTA) Roadeo and the International Bus Roadeo hosted by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). The APTA event will be held in May 2016 in Charlotte, NC. "We wish our teams the best of luck in both events." said Casey, who added "We look forward to making room for their new trophies in the SEPTA awards case."

A look at an Operator has he completes one of the turns on the Roadeo course.

Technical teams participated in a series of timed diagnosis events during the mechanical portion of the contest.

Zenon 'John' Rinylo, poses with SEPTA Senior Managers upon his 23rd Roadeo win.