MDOT Holds Annual Equipment and Operators Rodeo

Workers with the Mississippi Department of Transportation can be along Mississippi highways making them safer for travelers, but have you ever thought of the skill it takes to do their job?
Today, those skills were on full display at their annual statewide “Equipment and Operators Rodeo”.
MDOT Maintenance Technician Matthew Thorne has been hitting the streets for MDOT for eight years. Today, he represented MDOT District 5, operating a lowboy with only one thing on his mind: “It’s the competition. Just to be able to compete and being able to say that you’re the best in the state,” Thorne said.
Today’s competition featured teams from six districts across the state. Two contestants for 6 events were chosen after each district’s annual rodeo. Competitors tell News 25, they entered today hoping to take home some extra hardware.
“Each position gets your more points,” said Thorne. “So, the more points you get, that’s how they determine the team competition. And that’s what the goal is, for the team to win the whole thing to bring the trophy back to Newton, Mississippi.”
Events today included operating a tractor bush hog and even a backhoe with precision. Individual winners of each event had an even bigger incentive to take home the top spot: “The winners from this event go on to the regional rodeo, where they compete against 10 other states in the southeast, which will be held in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in September,” said MDOT Rodeo Coordinator Heath Patterson.
“The key message is safety. These guys work adjacent to traffic every day, so the more they hone in their skills, the safer everybody is,” said Patterson.
At the end of today’s competition, District 5 out of Central Mississippi repeated as champions and took home the rodeo trophy.

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