DOVER -- The 17th annual Teen Driving Roadeo, sponsored by Safe Kids Tuscarawas, took place April 27 at the Tuscarawas County Fairgrounds.
Nine of the ten area high schools participated to win cash prizes and bragging rights plus a trophy for the best and most prepared drivers in a variety of driving safety categories. All the students answered two short answer essay questions on timely topics such as drifting and teen driving. In addition, students took a 100 question test based on the Ohio Driver's Digest, and had to maneuver cars (borrowed from Parkway Nissan Lincoln Mercury) through five different maneuverability scenarios. Area law enforcement agencies, including Dover, New Philadelphia, Bolivar, Strasburg, Uhrichsville, Ohio State Patrol, Tuscarawas County Sheriff's Department, and Gnadenhutten loaned officers to grade the students' driving abilities in the scenarios. This gave the students and officers a chance for some fun in an unofficial setting, while teaching students how to better handle themselves on the road.
Students were asked to participate in educational sessions including Humphries mechanic, Bob Colburn, who had some students change a tire and check fluid levels and tire pressure on a car Sgt. Bill Bower and Sgt. Gary Wolf of the State Highway Patrol, who talked to kids about the protocol when they are pulled over by an officer and Cathy Clarke from the Tuscarawas County Coroner's office and Mary Mears of MADD who showed the consequences of distracted and impaired driving.
Local students participating this year were:
Indian Valley -- Coordinator, Jake Love; students, Logan Cozart, Tyler Martin, Tyler Jirles, Katie Richardson, Dylan Lewton, Kaitlyn Tinlin.
Newcomerstown -- Coordinator, Josh Branch; students, Steven Brooks, Doug Dorsey, Kori Conner, Chelsea Fenton, Tyler Craigo, Paul Matthews.
The school winner of a trophy donated by Dover and New Philadelphia Police Chiefs with the best overall score was Garaway High School with an average score of 727. Placing first in overall driving skills was Paul Honigford of Garaway winning $300 and a score of 495 out of a possible 500, second place with $200 was Tyler Martin of Indian Valley, third with $100 was Derek Yoder of Garaway, fourth with $75 was Jordon Miller of Garaway and fifth place winning $50 was Steven Brooks of Newcomerstown. Placing first and winning $300 in the written test was Zach Rafter of Dover, second with $200 was Emily Bitticker of Dover, third with $100 was Carli Norman of New Philadelphia, fourth with $75 was Caleb Velleca of New Philadelphia and fifth with $50 was Chelsea Fenton of Newcomerstown.
Individual event winners all winning $25 were Amber Maize of Dover for best test question score, Tyler Jirles of Indian Valley for best short answer essay, Ryan Troyer of Garaway for best score in the star, Luke Yurich of New Philadelphia for best score on the serpentine, Ryan Froman of Strasburg for best score on the backing and lane change, Caden Bonar of Strasburg for best score on parallel parking right, and Andrew Burrell of Dover for best score on parallel parking left.