Dot Foods material handlers hailing from distribution centers throughout North America showcased their skills in a head-to-head showdown at Dot’s annual Forklift Rodeo National Championship on June 29 in Mt. Sterling.
Operating one of four pieces of warehouse machinery–forklift, narrow aisle, pallet jack, or order picker–contestants earned their way onto the big stage by winning regional challenges at their respective locations in the weeks leading up to the championship.
With their machine of choice, each participant loaded a stack of pallets with a basketball on top and navigated their way through a complex course. If a judge saw any kind of infarction occur, a time penalty was added to the final runtime: 10 seconds for a dropped basketball, two seconds for hitting the barrier, five seconds for knocking a barrier over, and 20 seconds for any actions deemed unsafe (fortunately, safety-related infractions were few and far between).
Out of 58 contestants, nine completed “clean runs” (i.e. a run with no penalties) including overall order picker champion Frankie Garcia and top forklifter Robert Dent, both of Dot Foods Georgia.
The top performers in each of the four categories won a free trip of their choosing (in addition to a nice piece of hardware for the trophy case). With second place finishes in narrow aisle, pallet jack, and forklift, Dot Foods Arizona was named the top-performing distribution center of 2023. Arizona’s crowning crushed the three-peat aspirations of their southwestern counterparts of Dot Foods Oklahoma; winners of the last two contests.