Lift Truck Rodeo Awards Dream Vacations to Warehouse Employees

MT. STERLING, Ill.–Three warehouse employees at Dot Foods Inc. won trips to Disney World, the Caribbean or one of seven other vacation destinations by successfully competing in the company’s Forklift Rodeo Grand Nationals.

On June 25, lift truck operators maneuvered conventional lift trucks, pallet trucks and narrow-aisle reach trucks through an obstacle course while carrying a trash can with a basketball balanced on top. The rodeo competitors were penalized for safety infractions or contact with course boundaries.

“The event is designed for our employees, both for fun and to encourage safe and efficient operation of the equipment,” says John Long, vice president of warehousing. “While speed is key, safe operation is critical to successful performance, as scores take into account bumping into or upsetting the pallets that outline the course; stopping/honking in the proper manner; as well as general safe operating observations by the judges.”

Each year, Dot Foods holds Warehouse Appreciation Week at each of its distribution centers across the country. As part of the week, employees compete in qualifying rounds of the Forklift Rodeo, and the top winner on each of the three types of lift trucks earns an all-expense-paid trip to Mt. Sterling for the Grand Nationals.

“It was exciting to see employees from distant locations coming together to celebrate each others’ success,” says Mike Ford, Indiana warehouse manager and 2009 Forklift Rodeo coordinator. “This year, there was even more of an emphasis on celebrating individual participants, with scheduled tours of the headquarters, dinner in St. Louis the night before and a slideshow during the contest with pictures and fun facts about each contestant.”

Clint Sutton from the Mt. Sterling frozen warehouse and Jeff Scrogum from the Mt. Sterling dry warehouse won on the pallet truck and narrow-aisle truck, respectively, while Jon Baker from the Cambridge City, Ind., warehouse was the lift truck champion. The Illinois dry warehouse accumulated the best overall score to earn bragging rights as the all-around DC champion.

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