Dot Foods Forklift Rodeo Returns Following Two-Year Hiatus
Though admittedly it’s been awhile, this definitely ain’t our first rodeo.
After COVID-related postponements in 2020 and 2021, the widely anticipated and mostly annual Dot Foods Forklift Rodeo National Championship made its long-awaited return to the Mt. Sterling warehouse stage on June 23.
Following weeks of intense competition at the local level, regional forklift champs from 11 nationwide distribution centers flocked to the Midwest HQ to put their skills to the test against the best in the business. Qualifying participants competed in one of four categories: forklift, narrow aisle, pallet jack, or order picker.
On their machine of choice, each competitor aimed to navigate a complex course built of upright pallets while successfully balancing a basketball atop the carried load itself. In addition to this nearly impossible task, penalties were incurred for colliding with the pallet barricades or failing to stop and give a warning “beep beep” at each intersection on the closed course (safety first, after all).
Though only a few were dinged with failure to honk infractions, the basketballs generally did what basketballs generally do and just didn’t seem to stay put for anyone. In fact, out of the 52 participants, only two managed “clean runs” (i.e. no dropped balls or bumped barricades): forklift operator Servando Alvarez out of Oklahoma and eventual order picker winner Winiban Irogoyen out of Mt. Sterling.
The following winners each received a trophy and a $2,500 travel voucher for their championship performances:
Narrow Aisle – Kendall Ebersole (Maryland)
Forklift – Alex Lopez (Idaho)
Pallet Jack – Robert Miller (Oklahoma)
Order Picker – Winiban Irigoyen (Mt. Sterling)
Runners up included the following competitors:
Narrow Aisle – Todd Phillips (Mt. Sterling)
Forklift – Jesus Rodriguez (California)
Pallet Jack – Levi Lamb (Mt. Sterling)
Order Picker – Trent Lands (Arizona)
Overall, the Ardmore, Oklahoma, distribution center defended its 2019 title by reclaiming the trophy for the top performing DC in the country.
In addition to the Thursday afternoon festivities themselves, all rodeo participants were invited as featured guests to Dot Foods’ annual Mid-Year Operations meetings in St. Charles, Missouri and enjoyed a private, post-rodeo reception at Mt. Sterling’s Twin Hollows Lodge before departing for home.
Traditionally an annual summer spectacle for Dot Foods warehouse workers, this year’s event marked the fifteenth in company history. Follow Dot Foods Careers on social media and stay up to date with the Dot App for updates on the 2023 contest.