(11-27-18) Mercer County Engineer employees participated in a regional County Engineer Snow Plow Rodeo on November 20, 2018 held at the Allen County Fairgrounds, Lima.  Every other year Mercer County Engineer snow and ice control crews participate with their counterparts from Allen and Auglaize counties in competitions testing their skills against others in their profession.  The activity allows the crews to network with others in the region about snow and ice control and other county engineer work efforts.  Every other year one of the three counties involved take turns hosting the event.

This year the Mercer County A-team (Tony Knapke, Todd Freeman, Darren Porter and  Mike Steinlage) came in first.

a team.jpg

The Mercer County B-team (Dusty Messner, Gary Schaublin, Gary Kuhn and Dick Gray) came in second.

b team.jpg

In the individual competitions, Mike Steinlage placed first in backhoe and Dusty Messner placed 2nd in snow plow driving.

Mike Steinlage
Dusty Messner
Dusty Messner

Mercer County Engineer Jim Wiechart

“Part of the day involves competition and displaying individual skills in snow and ice control, as well as other equipment operation. Another part of the day involves a training and safety program.  I think the most important part of the day for the guys is the ability to communicate and share what is working and what is not working in their operations with others in the region.  It is important to recognize the success our folks had in this competition and it demonstrates their skills and abilities in operating equipment.”

Wiechart offers the following guidelines for motorists to follow as they travel this winter season:

  • If you have to travel during hazardous conditions, use common sense and adjust your speed to surrounding road conditions and slow down.
  • When following a snowplow, be vigilant and stay back far enough so you can be seen in the snowplow driver’s mirrors. All snowplows have starting and stopping points on their routes and at times unexpected backing by the truck may be necessary.
  • Many of the township and county road pavements are one-lane or narrower. Never attempt to pass from behind in these circumstances.
  • When approaching a snowplow coming toward you on a typical two-lane road, give some room to those large trucks and pull over as far as you safely can. The tip of the blade usually is at or around the centerline of the pavement.
  • Be vigilant at intersections and provide plenty of room. Plows may have to clear the edges of the radius of the intersection of snow and ice, which require many forward and reverse operations at the intersection area.
  • If clearing driveway, do no push snow to wrong side of mailbox (the low side).
  • Keep track of the road conditions and advisories issued by the local media.


As pictured in photos, left to right:


Snow Plow 1st Place Team:

Tony Knapke, Todd Freeman, Darren Porter and Mike Steinlage


Snow Plow 2nd Place Team:

Dusty Messner, Gary Schaublin, Gary Kuhn and Dick Gray


Snow Plow 2nd Place Individual:

Dusty Messner


Backhoe 1st Place Individual:

Mike Steinlage