Shuttle service offers rides to Round-Up competitors
RED BLUFF, Clif. - The Red Bluff Round-Up Association is offering a way to keep competitors safe even after last call at the bar.
It's called Project Safe Ride and helps to prevent DUI's. Safe Ride Coordinator and Red Bluff Councilman Clay Parker said the board first approached him in 2009 to help create the program.
"There was a word getting out that was not safe to come to the city of Red Bluff because of all the arrests for drunk driving and public intoxication," said Parker.
At the time Parker was the Tehama County Sheriff. He decided he would be a driver and brought his wife Lily along for the ride.
"As being the sheriff, how many people are going to say no to me? It's kind of why we did it and it's been widely accepted here in the city," said Parker.
Within the program's seven years, Parker has expanded to six drivers and three vans. Parker drives one of the vans with his wife. The others are driven by Parker's sister and brother-in-law, a former co-worker from the sheriff's office and his daughter.
Safe Ride starts Friday at 1 p.m. and runs through early Sunday morning. The service is free to anyone who attends the Red Bluff Round-Up but Parker said it is geared towards the cowboys and cowgirls competing.
"You're not going to meet a nicer bunch of people. I mean it's yes sir, yes ma'am just the most friendly nicest people I think I've ever met," said Parker.
Red Bluff Police Sergeant Kevin Busekist said the department will be fully staffed for the weekend in case someone decided to get behind the wheel after too much to drink.
"I'm sure there's going to be a DUI arrest this week and that's going to be unfortunate but the main thing is getting people to understand there are services out there to get them safely from point A to point B," said Busekist.
To date, Project Safe Ride has given more than 4,000 rides and added a vehicle transport service for those that can't drive back to the fairgrounds.
Parker said because he's driving around he does miss out on the majority of the performances but said the service was worth it and has several fond memories to look back on.
"We picked up a cowboy and cowgirl out here and when they get in the van they've obviously been drinking. They were in love, and they had just met. As we're driving along I said hmmm. So I told them I was an ordained minister and could marry them. And it was like I threw a bucket of water on them they just totally sobered up and thought oh my goodness," said Parker.