Rock ‘n’ Roll School Bus Drivers Test Skills at Annual Road-eo Event

Saturday March 16, 2024

There were no bucking broncos or daredevil cowboys in this rodeo. Instead, yellow school buses and their skilled drivers—some decked out in their best rock ‘n’ roll attire—were put to the test today. It was all in the name of safety during the annual School Bus Road-eo, hosted by the California Association of School Transportation Officials (CASTO) Chapter 12.

Drivers from Kern and surrounding counties gathered early Saturday morning at Kern High School District’s transportation yard to participate. In addition to a written test, drivers maneuvered their way through several events, testing their ability to negotiate obstacles and situations they might encounter daily while transporting children to and from school.

This year’s theme was “Rock ‘n’ Roll Road-eo, with participants decking out their buses and themselves in their favorite rock ‘n’ roll attire. Their creativity was celebrated with awards for the best-dressed driver and the best-decorated bus.

Dusti Maxwell, school bus driver for Rosedale Union School District has been driving for 18 years.

Nef Perez Lopez is president of CASTO Chapter 12 . He says it’s a great event to promote safety, showcase driving skills, and celebrate the bus driving and transportation community.

“It’s about coming together in the industry in our local area and community. We all do the same thing. This is where we can share good times, family, friends, and industry,” he said.

Ricardo Sanchez, an instructor and trainer for Panama-Buena Vista Union School District, agrees, saying this event is a chance for everyone to get together and have fun.

“You get to meet other drivers from other districts and show off your skills,” he said.

Sanchez and his team dressed up as members of the 80s rock band KISS. He says he’s happy that school bus drivers are getting the recognition and celebration they deserve.

“Not too many people realize what we do or value what we do, but we do it every day,” he said. “And it’s an important job. You know, we’ve got to get the kids to school, and we do it safely.”

Brenda Carter’s family came to cheer on her and her all-women team, “Miss Direction,” highlighting the importance of family support.

“It means everything to me,” Carter said.


In-County Individual:
1st — Ray Lowe / BCSD
2nd — Luis Lopez / BCSD
3rd — Scott Terrell / BCSD
4th — Jorge Hernandez / BCSD
5th (tied) — Ricardo Sanchez / Panama-Buena Vista and Jacen Price / Kern High School District

In-County Individual Novice:
1st — Jacine Scanlon / BCSD

In-County Team:
1st — Luis Lopez, Ray Lowe and Armando Martinez / BCSD
2nd — Jorge Hernandez, Chris Knight and Jose M. Jimenez / BCSD
3rd — Rick Sanchez, Darci Keith and Jaque Sanchez / Panama-Buena Vista

Out-of-County Individual:
1st — Jose Navarro / Garden Grove Unified
2nd — Tim Tran / Garden Grove Unified
3rd —  Kasey Hawsley / Murrieta Valley Unified

Out-of-County Novice:
1st — Fernando Aguirre / Murrieta Valley Unified

Out-of-County Team:
1st — Jose Navarro, Gabby D’Angelo and Tim Tran / Garden Grove Unified

Brenda Carter’s family was on hand to cheer her on.

By Katie Avery

By Katie Avery

Katie Avery joined the Kern County Superintendent of Schools in 2023 as a Communications Specialist. As a former journalist and marketing professional, her passions include media and storytelling. Before joining KCSOS, Avery worked for various local TV stations as well as the health care industry.