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Wisconsin Lift Truck Co-Hosts First-Ever Forklift Rodeo for Midwest Food Processors

Monday, December 16, 2013

Wisconsin Lift Truck proudly co-hosted the first ever Midwest Food Processors Association forklift rodeo at their convention on December 3rd – 5th, partnering with Seneca Foods, SBS Battery, Jax, Kaman and Orbis. The event was held at the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee with about 900 key food manufacturing stakeholders from around the Midwest coming together to learn, network and source better solutions for the safety, quality, and nutrition of their products.

The newly added forklift rodeo was a big hit at the event! Many gathered around to cheer on the group of 15 highly skilled forklift drivers representing Seneca Foods, Del Monte, Bush Brothers, Bonduelle, Lodi Canning and Lakeside Foods competing for the title of forklift rodeo champion.

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 effective than just the speed of the course.

We want to give a big CONGRATULATIONS to our first ever forklift rodeo champion: Telesforo Guerra Jr., from the Del Monte - Mendota location! He completed the course with the best time of 12:12, winning the grand prize trophy and rodeo belt buckle along with $100 gift card, miniature Cat forklift, and gift bag full of Wisconsin Lift Truck goodies. Telesforo was excited to put his 13 years of driving experience to the test in his first forklift rodeo and even came prepared with his own customize Del Monte forklift rodeo shirt. A close 2nd place was snatched away by our very last contestant of the day; Kurt Selle of Seneca Foods – Glencoe location with a time of 12:38. Not even the mini power outage right before Kurt competed could affect his driving expertise. Omar Garza, also of the Del Monte - Mendota location, came in with a time of 12:46 obtaining 3rd place in the rodeo, also sporting a customized Del Monte forklift rodeo shirt along with co-worker Telesforo. The course proved to be tough, but these guys did an outstanding job!

“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” said Corey Badtke from Seneca Foods.

Thank you to all the forklift drivers for their participation.

Wisconsin Lift Truck and the Wolter Group hope you enjoyed this year’s contest. We hope to see you all back to compete next year.

Wisconsin Lift Truck Corp. (www.wisconsinlift.com) is part of the material handling arm of the Wolter Group, which also includes Wolter Material Handling and Illinois Material Handling. The Wolter Group delivers superior service to over 15,000 customers in its three-state service area. The cornerstone of Wolter Group’s success is its highly trained staff of over 330 employees with an average tenure of 16 years of service.

For more information, contact Kristin Carey, at Wisconsin Lift Truck Corp.; Phone 262-781-8011 x3145; Fax: 262-783-0729; e-mail: kristin.carey@wisconsinlift.com

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