Annual Roadeo competition takes place at Allen County Maintenance Facility


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Aspiring to the top spots, 45 employees from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) District 1 garages competed in the annual truck and loader roadeo on Wednesday at the Allen County Highway Maintenance Facility in Lima.

A competitive driving event held in the spring, the roadeo began in 1988 and is held in each of ODOT's 12 districts. The contestants are scored on a pre-trip equipment inspection, and a test of rules and laws pertaining to holders of a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Then, their operator skills are put to the test as they navigate through a series of obstacles with various clearances with precision and while working against the clock.

This year, the Hancock County crews took home the top spots in both the loader and truck categories.

Tom Mellinger, who works as a highway technician in the Hancock County garage, won the truck competition with a score of 1,910 points. Finishing second, Michael Mulvaine of the Wyandot County garage scored 1,900 points in the truck competition. Third place goes to Dylan Neff of the Wyandot County garage with 1,855 points.  

John Rinker and Wyatt Price of Hancock County took home the top spots in the loader competition with a score of 2,225 and 2,100 points, respectively. In third place, Todd Utrup of the Van Wert County garage scored 2,075 points. 

Advancing to the Director's Cup of the ODOT Truck and Loader Roadeo to be held in Columbus in August, the top two spots in each category will represent District 1. Mellinger and Mulvaine will compete in the truck competition, while Rinker and Price take on the loader competition. Third-place winners, Neff and Utrup, will join the team as alternates.

“The roadeo is an opportunity to hone our skills and recognize ODOT's talented men and women,” said Chris Hughes, deputy director of ODOT District 1. “Each obstacle in the course is meant to demonstrate the challenges they face as heavy equipment operators as part of their jobs building and maintaining our highway system,” he said.

Also vying for top marks, plows from the district's Paint-the-Plow contest were on display and lining the walls of the Allen County garage throughout the roadeo. Schools in District 1's eight-county region painted 21 plows and during the roadeo ODOT employees voted for their favorite entries.  

Paint-the-Plow is an annual competition for which students paint an ODOT plow blade with their message of school spirit, safety, patriotism or Ohio pride.

The public is invited to vote, as well. Voting for a people’s choice award will begin on Monday, May 9, on ODOT District 1’s Facebook page at, where photos of all 21 plows will be posted. Each like, comment or share on a plow’s picture through midnight on Tuesday, May, May 16, will count as a vote toward the people’s choice award.

Both the ODOT choice, county top pick, and people’s choice award winners will be announced the week of May 15, after social media voting concludes.

District 1 encompasses Allen, Defiance, Hancock, Hardin, Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert and Wyandot counties.


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