ELKHART — On Wednesday, 13 charter motorcoach drivers put their skills to the test during the “Bus Roadeo” presented by the Midwest Bus and Motorcoach Association, which took place in a parking lot in the 400 block of County Road 4 West in Elkhart, behind Fairfield Inn & Suites.

The drivers were tasked with various obstacles to test their skills and reflexes, in a one-of-a-kind bus handling competition, as MBMCA Executive Director Cherie Hime and MBMCA President David James described.

These obstacles include:

  • A stop line – where drivers have to stop within a certain stopping point closest to the end with the front bumper
  • A right turn – where drivers have to get closest to the cone without knocking it over
  • Motorcoach parallel parking
  • An off set alley – going through a straight away of tennis balls and not hitting them, then making a right turn, and then straight away through the next set without knocking any of those over
  • Alley dock – backing into a dock about 20 feet deep
  • An alignment procedure – where the driver has to put the drive tires between the tennis balls
  • A serpentine – drivers move in an S pattern between cones.

The winner will compete at the United Motorcoach Association Expo in Long Beach, California in February 2022.

“The event is part of the group’s 2021 Annual Convention & Trade Show, hosted at the Hilton Garden Inn in Elkhart,” as stated in a press release provided by MBMCA. “Bringing together bus and tour operators from across the Midwest, this group has survived the economic and COVID-19 challenges that confronted the tourism and hospitality industry. Now, members are ready to bounce back and serve customers looking for comfortable and safe ways to explore the U.S.

Dan Shoup, of Cardinal Buses, spoke in the release about the importance of the event.

“It will be good for those in the tour bus industry to get together,” Shoup said. “Elkhart County, Indiana, is one of the most popular destinations for tour buses every year. I’m excited for a chance to show off the attractions and the pride we have in our town.”

Visitors from the tour bus segment generate at least $3 million annually in economic impact for Elkhart County, according to the release.

Joseph Weiser is a photojournalist for The Goshen News. Contact him at joseph.weiser@goshennews.com or at 574-533-2151, ext. 240328.

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