BRANSON, Mo. – Eight motorcoach drivers showed their driving expertise on a compact and hilly course during the Midwest Bus & Motorcoach Association’s annual driving competition. As part of the half-day competition, each driver navigated obstacles representing different road conditions.
“Everything’s on a hill in Branson, Missouri,” said Mark Szyperski, of On Your Mark Transportation, LLC, which sets up and run the course for individual companies, State Associations and the UMA International Driver Skills course. “All the drivers did great in maneuvering through the challenging course.”
The winners for 2021 are:
First Place: Andy Grecian, Windstar Lines, Iowa
Second Place: Trent Stange, Compass Coach, Michigan
Third Place: Aaron Hoke, Compass Coach, Michigan
Stange, the owner of Compass Coach, inspired other company owners to climb in their buses to try out the course after the contest, according to Szyperski.
The course was set up with equipment from the United Motorcoach Association. In addition to a written exam, the competition involves a behind-the-wheel test in which drivers navigate an obstacle course and execute maneuvers.
“This helps improve drivers’ skills, whether in the city or rural areas, so they can have better driving skills with obstacles, cars, vehicles, and people. There are always things in the way,” said MBMCA Executive Director Cherie Hime.
Szyperski praised MBMCA for hosting the annual event that promotes roadway safety.
“I always enjoy seeing drivers who take pride in what they do,” Szyperski said. “They always try very hard to do the best that they can be. It’s good for companies to have their competitions on multiple levels and for companies to send the winners to the state or regional association competitions.”
This year’s MBMCA champion has the opportunity to advance to the international contest that will take place in February at the 2024 UMA Motorcoach EXPO in Raleigh, N.C.
The MBMCA conference kicked off today in Branson, Missouri with the driver competition in the morning and a golf outing. A welcome reception will be held tonight. Look for an update in tomorrow’s edition from UMA’s Ken Presley, who will be presenting at the conference.