RFTA driver steers way to top honors | AspenTimes.com

RFTA driver steers way to top honors

Tim Mutrie

Every day I get in the queue (too much, the magic bus), to get on the bus that takes me to you …

And if ever there were a bus driver worthy of piloting such a bus for the Roaring Fork Transit Agency, it would have to be Thomas “Duffy” Duffield. The Glenwood Springs resident captured first place in the 37-foot transit bus division of the 11th annual Colorado Statewide Bus Rodeo. The competition was held at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs last weekend.

The victory is the five-year RFTA veteran’s fourth in the statewide event (not to mention a first-place finish in Arizona back in ’93), with his last win coming in 1997. Duffield also placed second in the 19-foot van division. He did not enter the third competition, for 24-foot body-on-chassis vehicles.

“The obstacle course involves six different movements and you can’t afford to miss anywhere, you’ve got to be right on,” Duffield explained. “The guy who beat me last year – I didn’t win nothin’ last year – I beat him this time and he took second. Ha!”

Duffield, a seasoned bus driver of a quarter of a century, said he hopes to travel to Florida next June for the Community Transportation Association of America’s National Bus Rodeo, to test his skills against the nation’s top drivers.

“I went last year and didn’t win, so I want to go this year,” he said, “but I’ve got so many trophies now anyway, that it doesn’t really make a difference. But I want to win that No. 1 slot and I think I can do it. It’s the most prestigious thing you do as a driver.”

Duffield and the other winners received cash awards and trophies.

Events for the 38 drivers from 21 transit agencies included a timed driving competition, a written test, pre-trip inspections, and wheelchair lift and securement exercises. Drivers competed in regional bus rodeos to qualify for the state competition.

The Colorado Association of Transit Agencies and the Colorado Department of Transportation jointly sponsor the annual event.

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