News / Published on May 8, 2024

Community Transit driver Matt Chomjak wins second place at International Bus Roadeo

Current state champion has a victorious history competing in the bus roadeo

Two men standing in front of buses and smiling.

Pictured above: Matt Chomjak (left) smiles with Community Transit’s Chief Operations Officer Roland Behee at the 2024 International Bus Rodeo in Portland, OR., where he took second place. 

Community Transit bus driver Matt Chomjak has done it again. On April 28, Matt placed second in the American Public Transportation Association’s International Bus Roadeo in Portland, OR. Matt competed against the world’s best drivers in the 40-foot bus division, but, this certainly isn’t Matt’s first roadeo.

What is a bus roadeo? Well, it doesn’t involve horses but has a lot of horsepower. The International Bus Roadeo is an annual competition for transit employees to compete in bus driving and maintenance competitions. The bus driving category consists of a 7-minute “obstacle course” for drivers. The maintenance category involves teams of mechanics who must locate and fix issues in bus powertrains.

There is a system of qualifying events to get to the International Competition, including regional, state, and district level competitions.

In 2023, Matt placed first in the Washington State bus roadeo which got him to this year’s International Roadeo, where he competed with other drivers from across the U.S. and Canada. 

Matt was confident in his run at the International Roadeo. “I knew before they announced it that I had done well, that’s how confident I was about my drive,” he said. He knew who his top competitors were, too. “It’s all about who has the best drive that day.” 

A man standing in front of a bus that is wrapped with his face on it.

Pictured above: Matt Chomjak stands in front of the bus that was wrapped with his picture after winning the 2006 International Bus Roadeo.

Matt started driving for Community Transit in 2001, won the local roadeo, and  went to internationals his first year. In 2006, Matt took home first place at the International Bus Roadeo in Anaheim, CA, and was given the title “best bus driver in the world.” After his big win, Community Transit wrapped a bus with Matt’s face on it!

Over the years, Matt has switched between driving buses and training drivers for Community Transit. After his big win in 2006, Matt took a break from competing in roadeos. He started competing again at the state level in 2022.

The secret to Matt’s continued success? Practice. On his own time, Matt practices driving in the Community Transit bus lot, or will go to other agencies who have a training course set up. “It’s just practice and knowing each obstacle. If I hit something, I don’t focus on it. I just move to the next thing and do that one clean. Really, it’s just doing it over and over until you get it right,” he said.

Why does Matt keep competing? “I want to win. I enjoy doing these competitions, and, being around the other people who are a part of these competitions is so much fun.”