First Person Singular

Sunday, March 18, 2007

I plow snow; pave and patch the streets and alleys; clean streets; and haul the heavy equipment for that around town. I drive the paving machine, the front-end loader for street cleaning, the backhoe, any big rig. Tractor-trailers, too. There's nothing I can't drive. All I need is a gas pedal and a steering wheel.

April 28, for the first time, I competed in the annual Professional Equipment Roadeo for employees of the District's Department of Transportation and Department of Public Works. I beat out everybody in the city on the heavy-wheel plow obstacle course at RFK Stadium -- a heavy-wheel plow is a 10-wheel dump truck with a snowplow attachment. That title is bragging rights for the whole year. I got a certificate and a jacket with my name on it and my picture taken with the directors. Then, off to the regionals in Richmond. All the counties in the Mid-Atlantic. I was the only one that got a perfect score -- 300 points was the top. But after they tallied it up, one judge said I'd hit something or run over a cone. They reassessed it, and first place went to someone else. Someone from the judge's county won. They wouldn't even let me redo it.

When I got back, the guys on the crew said congratulations, good job. They were proud of me. [This] April, I'll make it my business to try again. I intend to do every event: loader, backhoe, heavy-wheel truck, light plow truck. [Last] year I was just getting a feel for it, so I just entered the one. Now I know. I'm going to make sure they got it on the books this time, on the video cameras, that I won it all. I got a point to prove this year. May the best man or woman win.

Interview by Ellen Ryan

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