Thanks for Microkhan Jr.’s increasing obsession with all things mechanical, I recently found myself trolling through the hundreds of transit-related videos on this YouTube channel. It is quite an amazing collection, the handiwork of a New York City metrophile who apparently spends the bulk of his leisure time filming buses and subways. And among his many clips is this gem from a 2008 Metropolitan Transit Authority “roadeo,” a contest in which bus drivers show off the skills they’ve developed while navigating Gotham’s perilous streets.
The clip piqued my interest in the culture of roadeos, which are far more competitive than you might imagine. The sport, in fact, has its own Hall of Fame, honoring such landmark figures as Robert “The Big Z” Zuzworsky and Brentt Mackie. Who is likely to someday join this legendary drivers in the roadeo pantheon ? My money is on Rex Schrock, an up-and-coming Teamster from Nevada, who has won his regional roadeo for four years straight. (Photographs from his latest triumph here.) Though he has yet to triumph at the national championship, it should only be a matter of time. I recommend that you get on the bandwagon now.
Yet there is one thing that bugs me about America roadeos, and that’s the fact that the customer-service aspect is not compulsory. Such is not the case in New Zealand, where roadeo champs must prove that they can be calm in the face of adversity:
Nimon & Son driver Barrie Gledhill travels to Dunedin today to represent Hawke’s Bay for the third time in the annual Tranzqual Bus Roadeo.
Nimon operations manager Ian Hughes is confident Mr Gledhill will do well for the Havelock North company. “Barrie was the winner of the Commercial Road Skills Award for Excellence in Customer Service,” he said.
Mr Gledhill is looking forward to defending his customer-service title. “Last year we role-played different situations,” he said. “There was a man who had lost his wallet, a dazed and confused passenger and a lady who was late and screaming at me.”
There is something rather Buddhist about this challenge, for the only way to shrug off such provocations is to free one’s self of ego. And that must surely be difficult for roadeo champs accustomed to widespread adulation.