Forklift Rodeo? Yes, Forklift Rodeo!

forklift rodeo

You read that right: forklift rodeos. They’ve only been around for a few years, but forklifts rodeos are quickly becoming a popular way to highlight operator skills and safety while having a great time.

What are forklift rodeos about? How can they help enhance safety for every forklift driver – even ones that aren’t entered in the next forklift rodeo competition?

Let’s look at some different forklift rodeo contests, along with how they can promote safety concepts for use in any work environment — warehouses, shipyards, construction sites, and more., the leader in online forklift training and certification, has three different training packages to help you become a better, safer forklift driver. Can our training help you excel in a forklift rodeo? Perhaps — but first, here is a brief history of the forklift rodeo.

What Is a Forklift Rodeo?

Forklift rodeos started out with humble beginnings. Small companies originally held forklift competitions to award and recognize safe, efficient drivers.

A forklift rodeo is a competition unlike any other, as it encourages forklift operators to showcase their driving abilities in obstacle courses. All forklift rodeo participants must be certified to operate a lift.

Your business can host a forklift rodeo, too! It’ll encourage your workers to compete to be the best with a forklift. The result: your business can employ highly trained forklift operators who work safely and efficiently. Here are some ideas to get your own forklift rodeo off the ground.

Forklift Rodeo Ideas

Some typical forklift rodeos include:

  • Balancing – for example, driving through a course with a ball balanced on a cylinder
  • Obstacle courses
  • Forklift bowling – this popular contest has to be seen to be believed, and you can check it out here

Recently, big companies have thrown their collective hats in the forklift rodeo ring.

For example, Toyota, one of the largest forklift manufacturers in the world, sponsored Ravago Manufacturing Americas’ National Forklift Rodeo Championship in Manchester, Tennessee. Twelve total contestants battled for the championship prize in a series of events, including pallet stacking, navigating obstacles, and other exciting activities.

Dot Foods, a major foodservice distribution company based in Illinois, has become a noteworthy sponsor of forklift rodeos. In fact, their annual competition, the Dot Foods Forklift Rodeo National Championship, is widely regarded as the most hotly contested forklift rodeo in the United States. This rodeo is divided up into three separate contests: forklift, order picker (pallet jacks), and narrow aisle. As footage of their 2017 contest shows, forklift rodeo contestants have some serious skills! From balancing acts to pallet jack competitions, the Dot Foods Forklift Rodeo National Championship is the gold standard of forklift rodeos.

How Do You Win a Forklift Rodeo Competition?

forklift rodeo trophy

At a forklift rodeo, the person or team with the lowest score usually wins. Forklift operators try to navigate an obstacle course or complete challenges as quickly and without mistakes as possible. If they make a mistake, they get a lower score. Some forklift rodeos have operators compete individually while others have them compete as part of a team. But everyone can win if the operator drives their vehicle safely.

What Prizes Are Awarded During a Forklift Rodeo Competition?

What’s the ultimate prize for taking home the Dot Foods Forklift Rodeo National Championship? Last year’s winners were given the choice of an all-expense paid vacation to prime destinations like Disney World, the Bahamas, New York City, and more!

Regardless of the competition, there’s definitely a brand new meaning to “lifting the cup.” Sports teams celebrate championships by literally lifting a cup. The NHL has the Stanley Cup, Spanish soccer teams have the Copa del Rey, and countless other leagues honor league champions with a cup.

Along with cups, some forklift rodeos offer cash prizes to the top finishers. Furthermore, a virtual forklift rodeo was recently held, with the winner receiving a belt buckle that  can be worn proudly to showcase their forklift driving skills.

Well, it’s time to give the forklift its due. After all, nothing can quite lift a championship trophy like a forklift!

Why to Get and Stay Forklift-Certified

Only certified operators can participate in forklift rodeos. Certification shows that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to safely operate a forklift, and it also helps you stay up-to-date on best practices. There are many organizations that offer certification, and it’s important to choose one that is accredited and recognized by the industry. Once you’re certified, you’ll need to renew your certification periodically to maintain your skills and keep up with changes in the industry. Getting and staying certified as a forklift operator is an important way to protect yourself, your coworkers, and your equipment, as well as to take home your very own forklift rodeo trophy. 

Forklift Rodeo FAQs

What are some rules of forklift rodeos?

There are some general guidelines that all forklift rodeos must follow. First, all operators must be certified and have a valid license. Second, the course must be designed to test the operator’s skills in a variety of areas, such as speed, accuracy, and safety. Third, the operator must complete the course without damaging any equipment or causing any injuries. Finally, the operator must be able to demonstrate proper technique and maintain control of the forklift at all times. 

What do they do on the obstacle courses?

One popular obstacle is the water hazard, in which contestants must navigate a course while carrying a load of water-filled buckets. There’s also the blindfolded reversing course, in which contestants must reverse their forklifts while blindfolded. And of course, there’s always the ever-popular timed obstacle race, in which contestants must navigate a race course with as many obstacles as possible in the shortest amount of time.

Looking to Acquire Forklift Rodeo Skills?

At FLC, we won’t show you how to win a forklift rodeo. Our training courses will, however, show you crucial OSHA safety regulations, explain real-world situations you can apply on the job, and prepare you for the career of a lifetime!

If you’re ready to grab control of your forklift career and become the best possible forklift driver — and who knows, maybe a future forklift rodeo champion — then you’ll want to sign up for our training today. For more information, drop us a line or call our OSHA certification consultants directly at (888) 278-8896.

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