RALEIGH, N.C. — Charles Mantie was named the top school bus driver in North Carolina at the annual State School Bus Roadeo, held here on May 21.
The Jones County Public Schools driver earned the distinction after navigating a school bus through an obstacle course that tested drivers' skills in mastering a diminishing clearance, backing, making a tight turn and parallel parking. Rounding out the top 10 in the competition were:
2nd — Byron Lanier, Wake County Public School System
3rd — Heather Bailey, Rowan-Salisbury School System
4th — Chris Owens, Sampson County Schools
5th — Richard Davis, Buncombe County Schools
6th — Eric Edwards, Pitt County Schools
7th — Jeffrey Mellen, Wake County Public School System
8th — Kathy Broadway, Davie County Schools
9th — Michael Cunningham, Durham Public Schools
10th — Danny Williams, Public Schools of Robeson County
For finishing first, Mantie received a $500 cash prize and a trip to represent the state in the 43rd Annual School Bus Driver International Safety Competition, to be held July 20-21 in Tulsa, Okla.
The second- through fifth-place finishers in the North Carolina competition received $400, $300, $200 and $100, respectively. Sixth- through 10th-place finishers won $50.
A total of 48 school bus drivers participated in the final testing and driving competition to name the top school bus driver in North Carolina. Each of the 48 contestants advanced to the state finals by placing in the top 10 of a regional competition. Most regional participants also advanced through a local roadeo sponsored by their school system.
The North Carolina Pupil Transportation Association, the Division of Motor Vehicles, the Department of Public Instruction's transportation services section and the Wake County Public School System's transportation department sponsor the annual State School Bus Roadeo.
Other recent items on school bus competitions:
• Video: Georgia bus driver talks about roadeos
• Colorado team wins special-needs roadeo