Comet sweeps Awards at Statewide Transportation Competition, advances to Nationals

May 3, 2023

Bus Operators and Maintenance staff of The Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority (The COMET) scored in every category at the recent Transportation Association of South Carolina (TASC) Roadeo recently held in Columbia as part of the TASC annual meeting.

Philip Patterson

First-place winners were Philip Patterson, a veteran COMET bus operator of more than 30 years, in the Fixed Route 35-foot Bus category and Keith Parker, a bus operator for The COMET’s DART service, in the Cutaway Bus category. Parker goes on to the national competition to be held at the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) in Oklahoma City May 20-21, 2023.

In only her second time competing, Satara Lopez placed Third in the Fixed Route 35-foot Bus category. The COMET’s Maintenance Department entrants Tim Goodwin, Clayton Odom, and Cobe Odom also won a Third-place award in their category.

Keith Parker

“We are so proud of the outstanding showing from our bus operators and maintenance staff at this statewide competition. It demonstrates the excellence that we have here locally at The COMET and our goal to perfect our service delivery in public transportation,” said LeRoy DesChamps, Interim Executive Director of The COMET.

Satara Lopez

Industry-wide, the bus driving and bus maintenance competition is known as a “Roadeo” and features competitions between agency bus operators of 35-foot buses and cutaways, as well as maintenance teams. Contestants came from transit agencies across South Carolina to compete and enjoy a day of camaraderie. In a Roadeo, the bus driving competition consists of an obstacle course. For the maintenance portion of the competition, teams of mechanics must locate and fix defects in several bus power trains and other systems.

Tim Goodwin, Clayton Odom, and Cobe Odom

“One of the truest tests of a bus driver’s skill is how they rise to the challenge of a Roadeo competition. In these high-pressure environments, only the best and most talented operators will come out on top”, said Lenny Cooksey, General Manager for RATP Dev at The COMET.

The first International Bus Roadeo was held in 1976. Regional competitions below the international have taken place since 1982.


About the COMET 

The COMET is a service of the Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority and provides countywide public transit services on 47 fixed routes, USC Transit powered by The COMET, OnDemand/ReFlex services, vanpool service for commuters, subsidy programs with Uber and Lyft and DART for transportation to grocery stores and at night, ADA complementary paratransit service throughout Richland and portions of Lexington Counties and eight Blue Bike bikeshare stations in Downtown Columbia. The COMET transports approximately 2.4 million passenger trips a year on a fleet of more than 90 buses, vans, and trolleys. Transit services are provided under contract with RATP Dev USA, Enterprise Holdings, Lyft, Uber and Bewegen. For additional The COMET information, please call (803) 255-7100, TDD/TTY: 711 through the relay service, email: [email protected] or visit

Catch The COMET…We Will Take You There!