driver takes second at state bus roadeo

Say congrats to driver Cesar Chavez if you catch a ride on his bus.

He took second place at the state bus roadeo on Saturday in Sioux City. He was the first driver to place at state since DART hosting qualifying events — that is, its own roadeo — in 2008. Cesar won the long-bus division of the local contest back-to-back in 2009 and 2010.

DART erroneously declared Chavez the second-place winner this year, only to audit the scores and find out that he in fact came in first again.  Here he is at the DART Roadeo in May with his wife, Gaudalupe.

For the uninitiated: Competitors in a bus roadeo navigate an obstacle course far more challenging than the public streets that bus operators drive as part of their day jobs. The course includes tight serpentine turns, backing up into narrow passageways, and shooting through an alley of barrels with only inches of clearance on either side of the bus. Drivers are scored on time and precision of driving.

The four other DART employees who competed at Saturday’s state competition include three drivers, Ron Bienfang, Wayne Payeur and Luis Valle, as well as one mechanic, Eddie Mehmedovic.

Chavez’s score of 433 was second only to that of Ames’ CyRide’s Paul Klimesh, who scored 469 and has won the division three of the past four years. Klimesh and Chavez will go on to compete in the national bus roadeo in May 2011 in Memphis, Tenn.

Viewers of WHO-TV may recognize him as the DART driver who coached reporter Aaron Brilbeck as he tried his hand at driving the bus through a roadeo course. The video is still there if you haven’t caught it yet; click here.

You have to wonder if Cesar was only being polite when he tells Brilbeck he’d hire him.