Snowplow drivers take their turns at 'Rhodeo'

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The nearly empty Johnston High School parking lot was dotted with orange road cones almost as if some obstacle course had been set up.

In fact, that’s what the Rhode Island Public Works Association did on a recent sunny August day, as the unique non-profit held its annual Snowplow Rhodeo that was geared toward winter training of DPW employees in advance of those often torrid winter snowstorms.

Moreover, as Erin Gingerella said about the annual competition that featured DPW staffers – mostly those men who drive snowplows in their respective communities – the winning team and loader winner received an all expenses paid scholarship to the American Public Works Association Western Snow and Ice Conference in Colorado later this month.

For some five hours, DPW teams from Providence, East Providence, Narragansett, Middletown, Coventry, Portsmouth, Smithfield and North Kingstown competed in a number of important events.

“Each team entered two (DPW) drivers,” Gingerella, a spokesperson for the Rhode Island Public Works Association that’s headed by President Steve Mattscheck, offered. “They’ll take a safety quiz, compete in loader operations and snowplow slalom.”

The event featured a 30,000 pond GVW truck with front mounted snow plow and all participants were eligible for various prizes as well as a delicious lunch catered by Venda Ravioli of Providence’s Federal Hill.

“The Snowplow Rhodeo is a great way to train, keep up and test the skills and knowledge of DPW state and municipal employees in a number of different activities,” officials of the statewide organization offered.

Moreover, as information Gingerella distributed at the event read: “Every year the RIPWA works hard to provide training specific to winter driving and safety skills. We have created a positive, challenging and competitive atmosphere where camaraderie and morale are boosted along with safety and education. The Rhodeo, in keeping with our mission statement is a way to impart high quality training and promote safety while also showing our appreciation of all the hard work that public works employees do, day in and day out.”

First place overall went to Portsmouth DPW staffers Neal Beliveau and Joel Kosegarten second place went to Providence DPW and Narragansett placed third. Anthony Cipriano of the Providence DPW won the loader competition with Beliveau finishing as the runner-up.

East Providence took home first place in the Pre Trip Safety Inspecti9on while Narragansett and Portsmouth placed second and third respectively.

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