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U.S. Open Forklift Rodeo Gains Int'l Attention

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

By: Dick Higgins of The Higgins Group

Years ago the Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation (BWC) saw fit to establish what is now the Ohio Division of Safety & Hygiene, the mission to do all possible to make the workplace safer, hence reducing premium costs and preserving valuable workforce talent! The Division subsequently established and provides financial support for a program of community oriented safety councils to enhance its’ outreach effort and to promote workplace safety. The result, there are currently 80 councils statewide, involved in making the workplace safer!

One, the Springfield/Clack County Safety Council (SCCSC), seeking a showcase event that would advance its’ ability to reach out to its’ membership, will conduct its’ 15th Forklift Rodeo & Safety Expo on 30-31 October 2009. Originally it was a county-wide event, designed to, “promote the safe and efficient operation of forklifts in a fun, competitive environment.” It was a modest success conducted out of doors on a parking lot. The second was rained out and postponed. Ever since it has been conducted indoors in a Clark County Fairgrounds facility of some 35,000 sq ft.

Under the direction of The Higgins Group, Inc., (HGI) the Rodeo’s innovator and facilitator, the SCCSC Rodeo has grown in popularity from a single to a multi-county event to an Ohio and regional event. It has grown from a one day to a two day (Fri – Sat ) event to enable serving the ever increasing participation and in 2006, in a bold move, was renamed the “U.S. Open Forklift Rodeo,” an international competition.

Early in 2008, the event drew the attention of an internet site focused on every facet of the forklift world to include safety. The result, their joining as a major sponsor and the interest grows!

Only recently (April 09) a regional rodeo, “SafeMOV Portugal,” was conducted in Lisbon utilizing the HGI “how to” rodeo manual. The result a huge success and intent to send their two-person team to the SCCSC 2009 U.S. Open Forklift Rodeo. Meanwhile the Chesapeake Region Safety Council (Baltimore, MD) is preparing for an 18 July 09 rodeo with the assistance of HGI and intention of fielding its’ championship team in the “U.S. Open Forklift Rodeo!” And, a third rodeo using the SCCSC / HGI format appears possible in Great Britain, also using the SCCSC / HGI format.

So, what are some of the key U.S. Open Forklift Rodeo features?

  1. Individual competition in conjunction with the two-person team element. Every operator is in the running for individual recognition as the “Top Gun” with the trophy and cash prize;
  2. Two division levels, Master Operator & Championship which opens up the competition individual opportunity. Top Championship Division operators earn Master Operator qualification, cash prize, a nifty jacket and compete in the Master’s Division in the future;
  3. Top Teams (combo of the two members scores, both divisions) earn a handsome, take home team trophy; and
  4. A 25 question quiz taken from a Master Question File adds a valuable knowledge element.

To learn more about KMH Systems, a sponsor of the Forklift Rodeo for over 15 years, contact Ron Hobbs at or call 800/962-3178.

To learn more see the SCCSC Rodeo website by way of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce website

For additional information contact The Higgins Group at 937/325-7858 or

Written by Dick Higgins, Owner and CEO of The Higgins Group. Specializing in providing workplace safety solutions – OSHA Compliance. Their niche is powered industrial truck (forklift) operator training. A complimentary specialty is the promotion of competitive events (forklift rodeos) that inspire the safe and efficient operation of forklifts! Mr. Higgins also has experience as an expert witness in the forklift safety arena.

This article was also featured in a recent newsletter.

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