Becker County plow driver to compete in “National Snow Roadeo”

Chris Ayers secured his spot after a similar competition in St. Cloud this year.
Valley News Live at 10:00PM KVLY - VOD
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 4:21 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 17, 2023 at 2:50 PM CST
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BECKER COUNTY, Minn. (Valley News Live) - It’s not often the Valley avoids the snow this long.

While crews don’t have any snow to push yet, a Becker County man took his 30-ton Mack Plow Truck out for a spin Thursday.

A little practice before the inevitable can’t hurt, not that the man behind the wheel really needs it.

Chris Ayers has been moving snow for the Becker County Highway Department for five years. However, September will be his first time competing in the “National Snow Roadeo” in Colorado.

“They use their trucks. They turn completely different and handle different,” he says. “Just getting used to that when you don’t have any time to get used to it. That’s probably the difficult part is just not knowing the truck and how it maneuvers.”

He secured his spot after a similar competition in St. Cloud this year.

“The scores finally came out and I was one point behind the first guy.”

Come next fall, that guy will be his teammate. The two will go through an obstacle course, navigating tough turns and narrow alleys, a written test and a truck inspection.

“They have like 10 things they make wrong with the truck, whether its a loose lug nut or a bad tire, and you have five minutes to figure out what’s wrong with it,” Ayers says.

Ayers learned to operate all kinds of equipment during his time in the Air Force. The West Virginia native says he met his wife while stationed in Florida. She’s the Becker County native and the reason he’s here.

Still, it’s a good place for him to hone his skills.

“I like snow, to a certain point,” Ayers said. “Come February, I’m tired of it like most people.”

Ayers is in charge of a 44 mile stretch, both ways, near his home in Ponsford. While he admits he’s ok with the snow, he’s also ok if it decides to hold off a little while longer.

“If it’s a big event we try to run until at least most people are home,” he says. “You’re looking at starting anywhere from 3 in the morning to 5 or 6 at night. That gets to be a long day.”

As crews get ready for winter, the Becker County Highway Department says it’s still in need of drivers.