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February 11, 2014 -  At their convention on December 3rd - 5th Wisconsin Lift Truck co-hosted the first ever Midwest Processors Association forklift rodeo. This was a skills competition conducted on industrial fork trucks.

According to The Material Handling Network, the competition began with the challenge of maneuvering an electric CAT E30N2 lift truck through an obstacle course with a pallet holding a cone and tennis ball. They then had to go through the course again in reverse without dropping the ball. Other challenges in the rodeo included attempting to balance a pallet on top 4 cones, then changing trucks to an Electric Linde E25PL for the crowd favorite - the basketball challenge. Drivers had to pick up basketballs with the forks of the truck and shoot baskets into 3 different sized containers. Every driver demonstrated great skill in safety and efficient-paced performance on the lifts, while judges stood by with clip boards and timers. Each contestant’s time had 30 seconds added to it for every demerit given for errors. The driver with the shortest amount of time won, demonstrating that safety and accuracy was more important than just the speed of the course.

We found this event interesting as Blackbird is a nationwide auction and appraisal firm that specializes in the auction and appraisal of heavy machinery. We not only sell and appraise forklifts, we also use them. When setting up an industrial auction sale, our field technicians need to be skilled and safe while driving forklifts. Safe and accurate is important. Hopefully our crew could compete with these skilled operators.

Regarding the event Corey Badtke from Seneca Foods stated that “Forklifts play such a vital role in the food manufacturing and distribution process. The rodeo provided an excellent opportunity for drivers in the industry to demonstrate their skills and it was an exciting way to promote forklift safety”. I’m not sure if Blackbird Auctions will ever participate in a forklift rodeo like this, but we sure do sell enough forklifts to be intrigued by this event. Maybe we’ll be invited to the next one.