MET driver is top operator at state ‘roadeo’

Mountain Empire Transit veteran driver Jon Lovell brought home the top award from the 2022 Community Transportation Association of Virginia’s Paratransit Roadeo, and MET’s four-member team earned the overall highest score in the competition.

MET driver Jeff Whisman placed third in the best driver competition, giving MEOC two of the three top awards, and all MET team members earned the highest score in at least one category. The event was held on Saturday, April 2, at Salem Civic Center and tested competitors on various skills, focusing on safety and passenger sensitivity.

“We are extremely proud of the Mountain Empire Transit team for their performance during the roadeo and especially proud of Jon Lovell for earning first place. It was great to see our drivers’ skills and talents showcased during the event. All of our transit staff work hard throughout the year, and safety is always our top priority. And the state roadeo provides an opportunity to showcase that,” said MET Director Mitchell Elliott.

Lovell’s Best Body-On-Chassis Operator’s win qualifies him to compete May 13-14 at the National Community Transportation Roadeo in Louisville, Kentucky, against drivers from across the country.

MET drivers who competed at the state event and their awards follow.

Jon Lovell: First place, overall operator, and highest score in left turn, left-hand reverse, diminishing clearance and wheelchair securement.

Jeff Whisman: Third place, overall operator, and highest score in right turn and pre-trip.

Betty Whisman: Highest score in passenger stop.

Carlton Robinson: Highest score in offset turn.

Call Mountain Empire Transit at (276) 523-7433 to learn more about its services.


Mountain Empire Transit team members display awards earned at the 2022 Community Transportation Association of Virginia’s Paratransit Roadeo on April 2. Jon Lovell, third from left, won the Best Body-On-Chassis Operator award at the event. The team as a whole earned the overall highest score at the competition. Other team members, left to right, are Carlton Robinson, Betty Whisman and Jeff Whisman, who placed third for best operator. With the drivers are MET Director Mitchell Elliott, far right, and Operations Director Will Wright.