August 8, 2023

(August 8, 2023) Columbia, SC – Bus Operators of The Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority (The COMET) scored big at the Lowcountry Regional Operator Roadeo recently held in North Charleston, SC.

Philip Patterson, an accomplished veteran COMET bus operator of 45 years, won First Place in the Fixed Route 35-foot Bus category. Patterson has earned more than 30 First Place wins at various transportation Roadeos throughout his career, even taking home First Place in the National Competition in 2003, making him legendary amongst his fellow transit bus operators.

In only her third time competing, Satara Lopez won her second Third Place trophy in the Fixed Route 35-foot Bus category.

“We celebrate the impressive showing from our bus operators at this regional competition. It showcases the excellence that we are fortunate to have here at The COMET,” said LeRoy DesChamps, Interim Executive Director of The COMET. “Participation in competitions like Roadeo exemplifies our goal to perfect The COMET’s service delivery and safety record in public transportation.”

Industry-wide, the bus driving and bus maintenance competition is known as a “Roadeo” and features competitions between agency bus operators of 35-foot buses and cutaways, as well as maintenance teams. Contestants came from transit agencies across South Carolina to compete and enjoy a day of camaraderie. In a Roadeo, the bus driving competition consists of an intricate obstacle course where speed management and the ability to avoid collisions score high points.

“One of the truest tests of a bus driver’s skill is how they rise to the challenge of a Roadeo competition. In these high-pressure environments, only the best and most talented operators will come out on top”, said Lenny Cooksey, General Manager for RATP Dev at The COMET.

The first International Bus Roadeo was held in 1976. Regional competitions below the international have taken place since 1982.