The Rocky theme song hung in the air at our New England Distribution Center (NEDC) warehouse as the crowd got pumped up. No, Sly Stallone was not making an appearance. Rather, our own National Grid competitors were on hand to showcase their skills at the 2nd Annual Regional Forklift Rodeo Competition.
The event was one of seven that took place across our service territories this September, where forklift operators engaged in friendly competition to take home regional rodeo titles and a chance to compete in the championship event on October 14 in Sutton, Mass.
Participants in these qualifying rounds were judged on proper operational practices while completing a series of agility and obstacle courses. The name of the game was safety and accuracy – timing only came into play in the case of a tie-breaker to stress the importance of taking time to do the job right. The participant with the lowest points won, with judges awarding points for violations like knocking over cones or failing to buckle their seat belt, wear correct PPE or follow proper safety procedures.
“Makes me feel like Tom Brady—a winner!” joked Shane Waldron, the winner of the NEDC regional competition. Those who came in first, second and third place received plaques to commemorate their win. Neutral judges, who did not work for National Grid, scored the events. Judges came from local vendor companies who sell and repair forklifts and who are considered experts in the field.
Warehouse Supervisor Jose “Joe” Rodrigues was the main organizer of these events, which he hopes will showcase the skill and attention to detail that forklift operators need to exhibit on a daily basis. Forklift accidents occur every year and can lead to injuries or property damage. The majority of accidents result from operator error or unfamiliarity with correct forklift operations. These competitions are a way to recognize professionalism and the importance of safe operations.
The regional competitions even drew some media attention – like in Worcester, MA where the local Telegraph& Gazette featured a story on the event. Read it here: National Grid’s Forklift Rodeo Emphasizes Safety.
Here’s a list of the competitors from each region and those who will advance to the championship.
Check out the photo slideshow below to get a sense of how they went. Congrats to the winners and all those who competed. On to the championship later this month!
NEDC, MA regional rodeo winner: Shane Waldron
Also competing: Amy Johnson, Dan DiStefano, Brian Patenaude, Stephen Wiseman, James Wilbur, Michael Milionis, Daniel Mitchell, Joshua Larosee, Greg Bernier, Karl Amorelli, Ronald Brenn.
Worcester, MA regional rodeo winner: Melissa Ritchie
Also competing: Tim Roberts, Dave Goff, Mike Kenneway
Syracuse, NY regional rodeo winner: Marty Erwin
Also competing: Matt Scala, Marc Ryder, Jeff Knighton, Tom Leonard, Deb Voelk, Tom D’Agonstino, Anna Houde
Long Island, NY regional rodeo winner: Anthony Neglia
Also competing: Dominick Sambucci, Andrew Roland
New York City, NY regional rodeo winner: Tim Bohr (going to Sutton finals)
Also competing: Tom Bonowicz
Wilmington, MA regional rodeo winner: Al Boisvert
Also competing: Tyrone Westbrook
Clifton Park, NY regional rodeo winner: Glenn Garnsey
Also competing: Katie Nusca, Mike Miller