Canyon Laker wins Bus Roadeo State Competition


National School Transportation Association President Todd Monteferrario presents State Roadeo Champion Kristen Malone with an award for finishing 6th place at the Roadeo International Championships. Photo provided by Kristen Malone

Lake Elsinore Unified School District bus driver Kristen Malone took first place in the School Bus Roadeo State Competition. She received a trophy and an all-expense paid trip to the Roadeo International Championships.

Kristen is the first Lake Elsinore Unified School District bus driver to win the competition in the 17 years that Lake Elsinore Unified School District has been competing in the competition.

Kristen, a 27-year resident of Canyon Lake, has been employed with the Lake Elsinore Unified School District for 12 years. This is her eighth year competing in the Roadeo.

At the Southern Sectional School Bus Roadeo, held May 6 in Irwindale, California, 146 drivers competed. Kristen was one of only 25 drivers who qualified to move on to the State Roadeo. Lake Elsinore Unified School District bus drivers Leslie Baker and Kathy Allen also qualified.

“It’s an honor to represent Lake Elsinore Unified School District and the state of California, said Kristen. “It’s been a thrill and exciting to compete in a career that I love.”

At the State Roadeo, Kristen competed against 50 drivers from northern and southern California in Galt, California. She took first place, which advanced her to the International Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana, where she placed sixth in the U.S.A. and Canada Transit Class.

“I want to thank my colleagues at Lake Elsinore Unified Bus Yard, and most importantly my Lake Elsinore Roadeo teammates for their encouragement, support and leadership,” said Kristen. “I wouldn’t have come this far without my team.”

The main focus of a School Bus Roadeo is safety. The more training and practice a driver has the safer he or she will be.

At the Roadeo, drivers compete against each other using their skills in precision driving. Each event is either timed or measured to determine the score.

The events consist of an obstacle course which includes backing, parallel parking, student loading and unloading, right and left hand turns, and written exams on rules and regulations and vehicle inspection.