Mother-daughter bus driver duo win state ‘Roadeo’ competition
Mother-daughter bus driver duo win state ‘Roadeo’ competition
Posted on 09/10/2015
Mother-daughter Puyallup School District bus driver duo Linda Kalmbach and Alissa Hamilton are state champions after winning the special needs bus driving competition at the annual state school bus “Roadeo” championship.


The event, held in late June in Yakima, is part of the annual Washington Association for Pupil Transportation Roadeo, which features bus drivers from across the state.


By winning the state championship, the two drivers will advance to the national Roadeo competition in March 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky.


This is the second time that Kalmbach has won first place at the state Roadeo event and advanced to the national competition. In 2013, she and driver Carolyn Wilhelm won the state competition and took second place at the national contest.


Wilhelm competed again this year with driver Jan Buhl and took fourth place at the state special needs bus driving competition.


To qualify for the state competition, participants must ?rst excel in regional competitions. Drivers who place first, second, or third at the regional event advance to the state contest. Kalmbach and Hamilton also won first place at regionals.


The bus driver duo brought back two oversized trophies — one for winning the regional competition and another for the state contest. The trophies remain in the winning district throughout the school year leading up to the next June event.


Kalmbach has been driving Puyallup School District general education students and those with special needs for the past 30 years. Hamilton joined her mother in the school district’s Transportation department 13 years ago, drives both large and small buses, and is an assistant bus driver trainer.


The annual Roadeo competition is designed to recognize and improve bus operators’ driving skills. Drivers compete in a variety of events, including a multiple-choice written test, a comprehensive pre-trip vehicle check, a driving course, student management, and a surprise event that presents teams in an unforeseen emergency.