Dakota Transporter
Volume 16, Issue 2Summer 2004

Congratulations Den Kuehnemund and Dennis Ulmer

Den Kuehnemund was the top driver in the national body-on-chassis competition at the 2004 Community Transportation Association Expo Bus Roadeo in Seattle, Wash. Kuehnemund won by a decisive eight points. Winning is not new to Kuehnemund, he won first place in the 2000 Roadeo Body-on-Chassis Division in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. In 1997, he won first place in the Van Division and was the Ricon Driver of the Year.

Picture of Den Kuehnemund, Bruce Fuchs, Dennis Ulmer and Midge KuntzSouris Basin Transportation can be proud of its top-notch quality driver. Kuehnemund, now a second-time national champion body-on-chassis bus driver, has driven buses for 28 years beginning in 1976. His experience includes driving for Bay Metro, Bay City, Mich., Harley's School Bus and Charter Services, Rugby, N.D. and Souris Basin Transportation, Minot, N.D.

Kuehnemund attributes his driving skills to years of experience, driving a variety of makes and models of buses. He says the focus on safety and sharpening driving skills at the roadeos is very helpful in performing his daily tasks at work. To other drivers who would like to become champion drivers, Den says, "Make sure you compete in every state roadeo, they are a great experience." He also thinks the Dakota roadeos are a great learning experience and prepare drivers well for national competition.

Dennis Ulmer, Elder Care driver from Dickinson, N.D., missed taking home an award at the national competition in Seattle by the slimmest of margins, one point.

Ulmer has been driving buses for 31 years, starting with the Dickinson School District and for the last 20 years, Elder Care. Ulmer says, "The Seattle course was a very tight course, especially the right hand turn and tire clearance along with the left hand turn were too close together."

Dakota Transit Association 20th Annual Conference.  (Sept. 20-23, 2004)Ulmer likes North Dakota's roadeo because there's lots of space between all the turns. He says it's spread out and that gives everybody a good chance to win. Ulmer's tip to other drivers who wish to be competitive at bus roadeos, "is just to relax, have fun while doing it, and chat with all the drivers you can; it helps."

He attributes his driving skills to workshops, roadeos, and everyday driving experiences. Ulmer says the best way to prepare for competition is to "review notes from past roadeos and study Rules of the Road." He also says, "I do many wheelchair transportation trips everyday, so that is good for me. In addition, we do vehicle inspections daily, which helps too."

Here are the top six standings for the national roadeo at the 2004 Community Transportation Association national competition in Seattle, Washington. See how well North Dakota's drivers competed with 60 drivers from other states.

PlaceScoreNameSystemCityST
1895Den KuehnemundSouris Basin TransportationMinotND
2887Gunther YaconettiPierce TransitLakewoodWA
3866Danny StallardMountain Empire Older CitizensBig Stone GapVA
4859Dwayne BrannanBRATSRobertsdaleAL
5854Dave SchmoeYakima TransitYakimaWA
6853Dennis UlmerElder CareDickinsonND
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