VIDEO: This isn’t the first ‘Roadeo’ for Orange County’s top school bus drivers

If you’re behind the wheel of a school bus, pretty much every stretch of asphalt is a high-stakes road test, particularly given the priceless cargo sitting behind you.

But there is one day each year when the skills of local school bus drivers are applied in a strictly competitive environment, one in which courses are aced and legends are made — and sometimes by a matter of inches.

Welcome to the Orange County School Bus Roadeo, featuring seven precision driving events and a rigorous written exam, all geared to promote the highest standards of student safety.

This year’s Roadeo took place on Saturday, March 11, drawing dozens of ace drivers representing a handful of Southern California school systems to the Garden Grove Unified School District’s Maintenance Center. Over the course of several hours, bright yellow barges backed up, maneuvered through simulated bus stops, turned on a dime and even parallel-parked under the watchful eyes of judges.

OCDE’s Media Services team was also along for the ride to bring us the segment above.

[Updated, March 14: We’ve received the final results from the 2017 Orange County School Bus Roadeo. Ricardo Sandoval from the Newport-Mesa Unified School District was named the overall sweepstakes winner, earning first-place among Orange County’s drivers. His Newport-Mesa team was also recognized as the best in the county, followed by two squads from Garden Grove Unified. Meanwhile, Kristen Malone of the Lake Elsinore Unified School District earned honors as the top driver from a district outside Orange County.]