By Mr. Stephen Standifird (Leonard Wood)June 23, 2016
Instructors with the 58th Transportation Battalion met June 17 on the pavement of Training Area 228 at Fort Leonard Wood to determine the best motor transportation operator in the second annual Truck Rodeo.
Twenty-three Soldiers tested their truck-driving skills in four events, including a serpentine run in a M1120 Load Handling System, parallel parking a 915 Tractor Trailer System, backing an LHS with trailer in a straight line and an M1083 Medium Tactical Vehicle with trailer in a docking zone.
Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Remington, noncommissioned officer in charge of the Truck Rodeo, said the main idea behind the Truck Rodeo is to have friendly competition between the 88M military occupational specialty instructors at 58th Trans. Bn., and to have fun.
"This brings us back to what we do as 88Ms," he said. "We normally do a Truck Rodeo in each battalion in Forces Command units where they only have the Soldiers compete to see who is the best. This is probably the first Truck Rodeo some of these instructors have done."
In the end, two Soldiers tied for the most points. Staff Sgt. Matthew Dinkins and Staff Sgt. Volker Hagen both ended the competition with 935 points, earning themselves an Army Achievement Medal and a four-day pass.
"I'm still surprised myself. I had my hopes, but there was stiff competition," Hagen said. "After a while, I had a personal competition with guys in my group. I'm very happy about this right now."
On the other hand, Dinkins said he was there to win.
"I came in pretty confident," he said. "I like the competition of the truck rodeos, and I like to compete while driving. The Soldiers who I train pumped me up and got me ready for this. It's going to be awesome going back and telling them I won first."
Remington hopes this competition will continue as an annual event, and even challenged other units on Fort Leonard Wood to join in the fun.
"Next year we hope we can get more competitors from the other units, i.e. the Marines," Remington said. "There was some talk, so maybe they will come out next year."
Behind Hagen and Dinkins, Sgt. 1st Class Jose La Torre finished second with 925 points.
"We normally have good competition every now and again, but nothing official such as this," La Torre said. "This is a good time to make it official and have the bragging rights."
Dinkins and Hagen both said they plan on defending their title next year.
The 58th Transportation Battalion conducts Advanced Individual Training in order to develop motor transport operators capable of operating in contingency and peacetime environments.
The unit is the Army's only Motor Transport Operator Advanced Individual Training Battalion.