News

National Community Transportation Roadeo Results

The National Community Transportation Roadeo was held Sunday, June 8 in Minneapolis, MN as part of the 2014 CTAA Expo. The National Community Transit Roadeo is the only national venue to honor and celebrate the value of rural and community transit operators. This exciting event draws drivers from around the US and one driver from Canada to compete for top scores on course that tests skills on every level of the drivers' abilities. In Michigan, the top 3 winners from the state Roadeo are eligible to compete at the national level.

As CTAA celebrated the 25th anniversary of the National Community Transportation Roadeo this year, they allowed a special, one-time only exemption to the rule prohibiting supervisors from competing in the Roadeo. The Champions Division functioned as a special breakout division from the main driver field and drivers were eligible for a special award recognizing the top driver in the Champions Division. The Champions Division was determined by the top score among all drivers in both the Body-on-Chassis and Minivan divisions.

This year there were 68 drivers in the Body on Chassis Division. Below are the results for our own Michigan drivers:

12th - Harold Smith, Gladwin
14th - Roberta Keast, Gladwin (Champions Division winner)
23rd - James Beech -CATA
34th - Deanna Hughes – Gladwin

Michigan was well represented by both drivers and a number of agency and association staff. Pictured from left to right: James Beech – CATA, Josh Reid, Lauren Essenmacher, Roberta Keast, Deanna Hughes – Gladwin City County Transit, Denny Adams – I-Ride & Michigan Roadeo Co-Chair, Harold Smith – Gladwin City County Transit and John Drury, MASSTrans Administrator.

Congratulations to our outstanding Michigan drivers and their agencies.

Longtime RCTA rider is 1 millionth passenger

Virginia Thiring was named the Roscommon County Transportation Authorities one millionth rider on May 14. As part of recognizing the milestone for the RCTA, a sign was made naming Thiring the one millionth rider. (Photo by Krista Tacey-Cater) For the past 17 years, Virginia Thiring has been a regular rider of the Roscommon County Transit Authority as she often catches a bus three times a week to “get out for a ride” or go to a doctor’s appointment.

During an outing May 12, the 79-year old had no reason to suspect a ride back to The Brook Retirement Community of Houghton Lake from a doctor’s appointment would be any different than a normal bus ride. While waiting for the bus to return after the appointment, Thiring decided to wait at the Houghton Lake Big Boy and received the news that she was the RCTA’s 1 millionth rider.

“I was absolutely amazed,” Thiring said. “I had absolutely no idea.”

ONE YEAR OF FREE TRANSPORTATION

Roscommon County Transportation Authority Executive Director Maureen Daugherty presented one millionth rider, Virginia Thiring with a bus token that is good for one year of free transportation. Thiring said she will be using the free transportation for fun and to get to doctor’s appointments. RCTA Executive Director Maureen Daugherty said that Thiring had actually become the 1 millionth rider on Oct. 22, 2013 at 12:03 p.m. when Thiring got a ride from driver Rhonda Cross.

Daughtery said the idea was to keep the event a secret until May 14, as the week of May 12 has been designated as National Transportation Week.

“We’ve kept it quiet for several months,” Daughtery said.

When Thiring arrived at the RCTA’s Houghton Lake office on May 14, she got an even larger surprise when the staff took her to a bus that was covered in a banner recognizing her as the milestone rider. Thiring also received a bouquet of roses, an RCTA tote filled with gifts and free bus tokens for one year.

TRIBUTE DONATION

The Rotary Club of Houghton Lake recently donated $1,000 to Roscommon Township for the American Veterans Traveling Tribute Vietnam Memorial Wall that is coming to Houghton Lake in July. Roscommon Township Clerk Barb Stevenson spoke to the club regarding the event, which is planned to take place at the township’s Skinner Park on Knapp Road July 9-13. For information, visit www.roscommontownship.com or contact Stevenson at clerk@roscommontownship.com. Stevenson (left) is pictured accepting the donation from Rotary Club President Diane Gandolfi. (Courtesy photo) Thiring said being recognized as the 1 millionth rider is a “joy” as she is thankful to have the RCTA in her life.

ONE MILLION RIDERS IN NINE AND A HALF YEARS

Roscommon County Transportation Director Maureen Daugherty credited the RCTA staff for reaching the one million rider milestone. She said as a transportation authority it has taken nine and a half years to get one million riders. As a “mini bus” system, she said it took 25 years to get one million riders. Pictured (from left) are Driver Mark Griffiths, Lead Dispatcher Jeremiah McRath, Dispatcher Connie Schebby, Maintenance Supervisor Dave Putman, Driver Lloyd Scharrow, Driver/Maintenance Cindy Hurd, Driver Al Harper, Driver/Dispatcher Barb Mosher, one millionth rider Virginia Thiring, Daugherty, Operations Manager Nichole King and RCTA Board Trustee Greg Bush. (Photo by Krista Tacey-Cater) “I don’t know if I could make it if I had to stay in,” Thiring said, as she doesn’t drive.

Thiring added she will be displaying her free ride token for “some time” and plans to use her free rides as she has in the past, for fun and appointments.

She added she is thankful for all the RCTA does for her as well as the community.

“It takes courage, it is care, resilience and lots of smiles,” Thiring said of the RCTA. “That’s what it is for me.”

Daugherty added that the RCTA team is responsible for getting the authority to where it is today.

She said when the RCTA was a “mini bus” system it took 25 years to get one million riders and as a transportation authority started in 2004, it has only taken nine and a half years to get one million riders.

“The staff has worked very hard,” Daugherty said. “They are dedicated.”

This story originally appeared in the Houghton Lake Resorter on 5/22/14. Written by Krista Tacey-Cater.

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