We may be months away from any significant snowfall, but that didn’t stop equipment operators from putting their plowing skills to the test Tuesday at the annual snow rodeo.

Dozens of drivers, operating equipment from the Frederick city and county public works departments, as well as the county’s Parks and Recreation Department, competed with their snow removal equipment for bragging rights as the fastest and most accurate driver.

Snowplow drivers maneuvered their trucks through timed courses that tested their ability to avoid orange traffic barrels while turning, backing up and zigging and zagging.

They drove an inside curb, diminishing alley, cul-de-sac, offset alley, loading dock and a serpentine slalom course.

One important aspect of the day is a chance for the drivers to keep their skills sharp, according to county spokeswoman Vivian Laxton.

Laxton stressed that the drivers do more than just clear roads after a storm. They can also be first responders, clearing a path so emergency equipment can reach a patient in a storm.

Tuesday’s event at the Frederick Fairgrounds continues a tradition that goes back more than 20 years.

Laxton said the crews practice now, so they are ready for the real thing.

The goal is to have 80 percent of roads cleared within 12 hours of the end of a major snowfall.

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