Conferences and Roadeos
State RTAP managers not only organize conferences and roadeos, but are instrumental in getting subrecipients to these events. According to the 2013 State RTAP Managers Survey, 78% of RTAP programs hold regular conferences, and 28% of those are in partnership with other organizations. Most of the time, the other organization is a state transit association, but it may also include other government entities, other states, non-profits, universities, and vendors. Approximately 27 states host a roadeo, and of those, 75% indicated that they do host it in conjunction with other organizations, such as their state transit associations, a transit agency, or non-profits. Overwhelmingly, when states partner to put together a conference or a roadeo, they do so with state transit associations. Conferences are ideal venues for communicating with subrecipients, gathering anecdotal information about needs, and reminding subrecipients about the programs and services that your state RTAP program has to offer.
Roadeos are typically held in conjunction with conferences, or as stand-alone events. They are contests as well as training opportunities for drivers and maintenance technicians, as knowledge can be shared between participants, and experts are often on hand to answer questions. Sometimes regional roadeos will yield winners to compete in state roadeos, and those winners will go on to compete nationally. The most common type of roadeo is the traditional bus roadeo, in which drivers compete by driving through a series of obstacles. National RTAP has produced the Bus Roadeo Toolkit, which is a guide to organizing and judging this type of roadeo. Less common is the maintenance roadeo. Arizona, Florida, Washington, and other states hold maintenance roadeos, testing maintenance employees’ knowledge of van maintenance, electronics, and equipment diagnosis.
RTAP programs typically provide scholarships for rural providers in the state to attend either in-state or out-of-state conferences and roadeos. See Scholarships section for more information.