Not his first time at the SEPTA Roadeo

The annual SEPTA Roadeo, a bus-driving competition, is this Saturday. Credit: SEPTA
The annual SEPTA Roadeo, a bus-driving competition, is this Saturday. Credit: SEPTA

Twenty-five years after SEPTA bus operator Zenon John Rinylo won his first Roadeo, he could have win number 21 under his belt.

Rinylo, a 35-year veteran driver, will compete with about 50 other drivers in the annual SEPTA Bus Roadeo on Saturday, a competition that puts bus operators’ skills to the test in an 11-course obstacle challenge. The winner competes at the state and national levels. The stakes are high this year; SEPTA is the defending champion. And if anyone can do it, it’s Rinylo.

“It’s very difficult,” Rinylo said of the competition.

But it’s not too difficult for this Turnersville, N.J. resident; he’s managed to bank 20 local competition wins, a dozen state wins and two national titles. He also placed third in three national competitions.

He calls his first win—in 1988—his “Cinderella” moment. ”The first time is your most memorable one. I liked the adrenaline rush.”

It wasn’t an easy competition for him that year. Just two days before the Roadeo, his father-in-law died. After the competition, he planned to go home and be with his family but the judges told him he needed to stick around since he was winning. He didn’t win the national competition that year but he did take the title in 1997 and again in 2001 when Philadelphia hosted the competition.

SEPTA’s local competition will be held at 9:30 a.m. this Saturday at Cornwells Heights Station in Bensalem. The course features 11 obstacles drivers must overcome to earn a certain amount of points to move on. Any mistakes? Points are deducted. Judges watch for smoothness of operation, use of turn signals and vehicle checks—something all drivers do each day before their routes.

An obstacle Rinylo calls fun is driving the 40-foot bus through a set of tennis balls strategically placed 12 feet apart with widths just wider than the two back tires of the bus. Rinylo, whose normal SEPTA route is #37, from Broad & Snyder to Chester, said you have to go through the tennis balls without touching any of them.

Left turns, right turns, maneuvering through cones and more round out the obstacles.

“I was just talking to somebody,” Rinylo said laughing, “who said when he first competed, he said ‘OK, this doesn’t look too bad.’ When you get behind the wheel, it’s a humbling experience because it’s very difficult.”

As difficult as it may be, Rinylo is prepared for the challenge to be able to win and compete at next year’s national competition in Kansas City. Just don’t get nervous is his advice.

“You’re your own worst enemy when you’re nervous.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.