Robin Freeman, a veteran of district, state and regional competition for plow and heavy equipment operators, finished among the top 10 in one of his specialty events at the annual Western Snow and Ice Conference and Snow Roadeo.
Representatives from 16 western states, including cities, counties and state transportation departments, assembled for the competition Sept. 25-29 at Estes Park, Colo.
Freeman, a lead worker at the Council Maintenance Shed in District 3, finished ninth among 67 competitors in the loader event. David Palmer, a lead worker at the Coeur d’Alene South and East Maintenance Shed in District 1, was 18th in the event.
They combined to place 12th in the single-axle team driving event that attracted 43 entrants, and were 13th in the tandem-axle team driving event (53 competing teams). Freeman was 21st in the motorgrader event, while Palmer followed in 36th place.
Freeman and Palmer represented the department after finishing first and second at the state Roadeo this summer.
The regional conference included written tests on loaders, motorgraders, single-axle and tandem-axle vehicles the first day, along with equipment inspections in which contestants had four minutes to identify four deficiencies. The second day included motorgrader competition and single-axle competition, followed by loader and tandem-axle competition on the third day.
“We were able to see and discuss some of the changes that are occurring in the area of winter maintenance,” explained Rex Hufford, ITD’s statewide Roadeo coordinator who accompanied the two ITD competitors.
They also explored changes in trucks and mounted equipment, learned about the impending federal emission regulations expected next year, and learned about major changes in snow plow and sander controls. They also learned about a shift by several western cities and states to the use of AVL (automated vehicle location) technology and global positioning satellite systems.
“Dave and Robin also managed to see an assortment of equipment, trucks, plows, wing plows, sander bodies and other equipment and learned about some of the different approaches cities, counties and state DOTs use in Colorado,” Hufford said.
They observed first-hand the use of winter snow equipment after traveling to the visitor’s park, elevation 12,020 feet. The mountain received its first snow of the season on Monday and by Thursday the park had removed snow from the highway with a rotary snow blower.
Among the states represented at the annual Western Snow and Ice Conference were: Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming.
The theme for this year’s conference was “Clearing a Path for America’s Future.” Brig. Gen. Steve Ritchie, a veteran Air Force pilot and trainer, was the guest speaker.