Employees compete for a chance to represent UTA at national Rail Rodeo

Posted at 6:56 PM, May 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-01 21:00:29-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah Transit Authority employees competed Sunday to see who is the most skilled, and the winners will advance to a worldwide event this summer.

The winners of the local competition will head to Phoenix for the American Public Transportation Association’s Rail Rodeo June 15 through 19.

Employees tested each other on Sunday morning to see who scores the highest at customer services, emergency training, mechanical work and a number of other critical jobs.

“My daughter, dude, got out!” a pretend father shouted at a train operator during a training scenario on customer service. “Can you stop the train?”

“One moment, sit,” replied operator Brent Lutz.

“What do you mean ‘one moment?'” the pretend father retorted.

Lutz played it calmly and did his best to take the proper protocols to handle the situation.

“What customers don’t know is we can’t stop the train once we are already moving,” Lutz explained to FOX 13 after his test was complete.  “We have to let the person know: We will take care of this.”

After the scenario involving a missing 3-year-old, the next simulation was a bomb threat.

“All passengers aboard the train, evacuate the train,” Lutz said over the train’s loud speaker.

Logan Packer took second place in the operator category at last year’s American Public Transportation Association Rail Rodeo.

“It’s a way to keep us from getting too relaxed on the job, and keep us so we can operate as safely as possible,” Packer said.

He says the secret is to be ready for anything.

Other tests are for mechanics, including things like locating broken parts and fixing them quickly and competently.

Judges will tally up Lutz’s performance, along with the other 20 employees, to determine a winner.