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Omaha Winter Prep: How annual 'Snow Plow Roadeo' blends training and competition

Posted at 7:31 PM, Oct 25, 2023

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Although the leaves are falling, the grass is still green in many places across the Metro. If you are like Reporter Molly Hudson, you’re grateful there is no snow on the ground quite yet.

The third annual 'Snow Plow Roadeo' was held in the parking lot of the UNO Baseball and Softball Complex.

"Unless you are actually doing it, it's very difficult to train some of those things and get a feel for how that truck is going to actually feel in some of those situations," said Brandon Fisicaro, Omaha street maintenance superintendent.

From start to finish, the course is packed with obstacles to simulate a job that is challenging to simulate.

"We have a serpentine kind of to mimic driving down a street, having to swing in and out of cars, we have some controlled right turns where we are trying to take corners and stay as close as we can," said Fisicaro.

A little pre-season practice, where it’s okay to hit things, although it’s not encouraged.

"It gives us an opportunity to get some of our newer snowplow drivers into some tight situations, kind of, you know in a safe environment," said Fisicaro.

With winter right around the corner — what does staffing look like this year?

"I feel like we are in a really good position this season,” said Fisicaro.

With 160 drivers in the entire street division, there are about 30 to 40 brand-new drivers. But 70 to 90 have less than two years of experience.

"We are down 10 to 15 probably total overall in the entire street division,” said Fisicaro. "If you see a plow, the safest place on the street is behind that plow, stay back a ways, give them room to operate.”

One by one — drivers from different city districts take on the course — with crews keeping a close eye on each move before the snow falls.

A little friendly competition to determine our city's best drivers.

"We have a traveling trophy that goes around, and it gets to sit in that district for an entire year," said Fisicaro.

This year the trophy went to the Southeast team.

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