Roadeo King - Highway department competitor keeps his word


“It ain’t bragging if you can do it,” Logan County native and legendary Hall of Fame baseball pitcher Dizzy Dean once said after forecasting successful season and World Series performances for his brother, Daffy Dean, and himself while the pair starred for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department employee Terry King of Pine Bluff illustrated that philosophy Tuesday morning at the agency’s area headquarters near Pine Bluff. King, a maintenance crew member, told defending District 2 Roadeo tractor lowboy truck-driving champion and fellow maintenance worker John Harvey of Star City that the time had come for Harvey to relinquish his crown.

“You can put beside my name that I’m going to be the new title holder,” King said as he and Harvey shared a laugh during the annual competition. King said his contestant number — 1 — indicated he was the top-rated hopeful.

Harvey joked that the only reason King had shown up for the contest was King’s desire to unseat “the best.”

A short time later, King was announced as the winner.

“I don’t mind losing,” Harvey said. “This is always a fun event and I’ve won some and lost some, but I always enjoy seeing my friends and competing against them. It’s about bragging rights and getting to razz on one another. Everyone looks forward to this every year.”

Men and women of assorted ages — rookies and veterans alike — competed for the right to advance to a statewide and possibly regional and national contests navigating small and big trucks, tractor/mowers and backhoes through a series of timed and point-rated skill tests. District 2 includes Jefferson, Arkansas, Ashley, Chicot, Desha, Drew, Grant and Lincoln counties.

Multi-axle truck driver Melisa Starnes of Pine Bluff, a past repeat winner in the tandem-axle dump truck category, said that although Monday seemingly wasn’t her best day, “I’ve had a good time.”

“I bumped a dock and lost 25 points,” she said with a shrug of her shoulders. “I just said, ‘Oh, well.’”

Kay Rapier of Hensley, a station attendant challenging Starnes, figures that believing in one’s self is a key to victory.

“I always have the attitude that I can win,” she said. “But even if I don’t, this gives me a chance to drive a truck and visit with others that I don’t always have a chance to talk with.”

After the competition concluded, the co-workers gathered for an outdoor luncheon and swapped lively animated stories on their Roadeo experiences.