MTR Western driver wins NWMA Annual Roadeo 

On a day with blue skies and fall temperatures, the Northwest Motorcoach Association held its annual Roadeo at Avista Stadium, home of the Spokane Indians baseball team.

Colleen Laughton (MTR Western) took first place. Paul Rohrbaugh (Starline Collection) was second, and Steven Kiddoo (Alpha-Omega Tours and Charters) finished in third.

With her win, Laughton earned the right to compete in the United Motorcoach Assocation’s International Driver Competition during the UMA Motorcoach EXPO, to be held Feb. 4-7 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

2023 NWMA Roadeo winner Colleen Laughton with UMA’s Ken Presley.

“We’re proud to continue this Northwest Motorcoach Association annual tradition established in 1999,” said newly elected association President Brian Giles. “This was one of the most challenging courses we have ever had, and all the drivers did a great job.”

“Our heartiest congratulations to all the drivers for a job well done,” said UMA’s Ken Presley. “We look forward to seeing Colleen Laughton represent NWMA competing in the international competition in Raleigh.”

Full schedule at conference

The competition was part of the Northwest Motorcoach Association 23rd Annual Roadeo and Conference held this week in Spokane Valley, Washington, which included an agenda filled with information, education, and industry updates. 

NWMA Annual Roadeo
The NWMA Annual Roadeo driver competitors and volunteers.

Motivational speaker Dr. Kathy Gruver addressed the group on “Stress and Communication,” suggesting effective tools and strategies.

Matthew Perkinson, Assistant Director Transportation Safety for the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, gave a presentation on effective pre-trip inspections and how following the regulations avoids fines, out-of-service orders and costly breakdowns. 

In a presentation titled “Insurance and Safety Go Hand in Hand,” Kimberlee Bissegger, Regional Manager for Lancer Insurance Co., spoke about basic risk management and insurance budgets.

Airport navigation

A panel of operators discussed “Navigating the Ins and Outs of Local Airports,” including SeaTac, Portland, Boise, and Spokane. The intricacies of complying and avoiding costly mistakes were central to the discussion. 

UMA’s Ken Presley with Jason Cash of Bus Coach at the 2023 NWMA Conference.

Arber Demiri and Jason Sharp from the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission spoke on Level II inspections and the essentials to passing them.

UMA’s Presley gave a presentation contrasting grassroots and direct lobbying. “Grassroots lobbying engages your public in working together for the larger, affected community – building formidable alliances and painting a broader and in-depth picture for legislators,” he said.

The educational sessions wrapped up with an operator round-table discussion, followed by the vendor reception and trade show. The day concluded with an outdoor BBQ and plenty of time for swapping “war stories” and successes.

Newly elected officers and Board members were announced at the conference’s last evening reception. Brian Giles (Alpha-Omega Tours) was elected president; Rick Henderson (Premier Coaches Northwest), vice president; John Burnette (Premier NW Charters), small-company representative; Ryan Sanders (Motorcoach West) medium-company representative; Dave Stevens (Starline Collection), large-company representative; Manny Cerda (Temsa USA) OEM representative; Tish Losure, CSTP (Western Pleasure Tours), tour operator representative; Luther Kugler (Bridgestone), supplier representative.  


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