RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Construction operators from all across North Carolina came together Tuesday for a little friendly competition. 

For the first time in three years, the North Carolina Department of Transportation hosted its annual Equipment Operators’ Safety Training Conference, also known as the state “Roadeo.”

Close to 100 operators took part in Tuesday’s event. These contestants are a part of highway divisions across the state and they competed in seven skill categories.

The purpose of the event is to promote skill advancement for employees who operate heavy equipment.

The competition is also designed to increase the safety awareness level of employees working in or around work zones.

Robin Barfield, the Safety Risk Director, said this is needed to maximize the employee’s skill sets and learn and bond as a family. 

“Millimeters of an inch can make all the difference. We compare that today with what we see with fiber optic cable that could be buried, sewer lines, water lines (and more),” Barfield said. “So just a millimeter could make a big difference and cost of millions of dollars if we’re not careful.”

Barfield also said its CDL program is one of the largest in the state and is continuing to grow. With that growth comes the need for experience, and that training can come from none other than the Roadeo.