Rodeos usually involve cows and horses, not snow plows.
But today at Lonnie Field in Weaverville over 75 plow operators and almost 20 plows gathered together for the first annual Northern California Snow Plow Rodeo.
Events included a bowling ball push where drivers pushed a bowling ball through an 'S' course with the plow of a grader making sure not to hit any cones and depositing it in an 18 inch pipe at the end of a long straight.
There was also a competition where drivers had to knock a basketball off the top of a cone with the wing plow, the plow on the right side of a truck used to plow breakdown lanes, without touching the cone.
Points were subtracted for every cone hit or every time the bowling ball got away.
Needless to say it’s pretty remarkable that every contestant had positive points at the end of the day.
But it wasn’t all fun and games.
The real reason the rodeo was held was to prepare for the fast approaching winter.
“We spent a good part of the morning talking about different safety procedures,” says Rick Tippett, Trinity County director of transportation, “essentially talking to each other about what equipment that they have and sharing ideas to see what does one county do verses the others.”
The focus was to get the men to switch from summer to winter modes and to make sure the drivers are talking and sharing their ideas.
This is the first time in 15 years since the last snow plow rodeo, which was held at Lake Tahoe.
Organizers say they got the idea from plow crews in the mid west and east coast.
“It's a great experience,” says plow operator Jim Saghetti, “they should do it every year.”
After a tough competition Shasta County ended up winning both the grader and wing plow competition, conceding only the plow-truck-beauty contest to Lassen County’s yellow truck.
Shasta County will host next year’s rodeo.