The men and women who keep your streets clear of snow and debris are competing this week in what could be called the public works Olympics.
In it, competitors go head-to-head to see who can clear a street quickly and safely. The course is made up of large orange cones and knocking them down could cost a competitor points.
The idea behind it is to improve training with a little healthy competition and the result could improve drivers' commutes.
During the Heart of America APWA Snow and Equipment Training Expo Competition, plow drivers get points for knocking down metal points, while trying to avoid knocking down cones.
"The guys that are competing here are the same guys out plowing your streets," said Chris Porras, the chairperson for the Snow and Equipment Training Expo.
The obstacle course is set-up to represent normal driving conditions.
"With cul-de-sacs, parked cars, tight turns. So they have to be able to maneuver their truck and still do the job," Porras said.
About 300 to 350 people compete in events including backhoe, skid steer, street sweeper, excavator and snow plow competitions.
"You can definitively tell the difference between the guys who have done the course several years in a row and the guys that are beginning," Porras said.
Topeka, KS, public works crews are competing to take the top spot for the second year in a row. Crews from Overland Park, Johnson County and Lee's Summit are expected to give them a run for their money.
The expo kicks off Monday and runs through Thursday. It will be held on the southern-most end of the New Century AirCenter in Gardner, KS, located near West 167th Street and Old 56 Highway.
It will also offer a new type of training this year with a National Incident Management System or NIMS training. That type of training is used when cities are devastated by tornadoes, hurricanes or ice storms.
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