LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - Twenty-one competitors saddled up for the Forklift Rodeo at Maude Cobb in Longview. And it took speed, precision and a little bit of luck to get a high score on the two courses.
It’s back after taking a hiatus for several years. The Forklift Rodeo was a perfect fit for Longview’s Industry Appreciation Month, according to Longview Economic Development Corporation’s Kelly Overby.
“We wanted to recognize the industries that we have and we remembered how fun it was the last time we had the forklift rodeo,” Overby said.
And it put people in the spotlight who normally aren’t.
“Just to showcase somebody who works in the back of the company. You don’t see them very often,” Overby stated.
Two courses pit the drivers against a series of cones, some with tennis balls perched atop them. And there’s the dreaded basketball goal. Competitor Jerred Sparkman works at Sysco Foods, and had something to do with the course.
“I took their existing course and added a few little tweaks to it to make it more interesting. You know anybody can come out and drive around some cones but it takes a little skill to do some of the new stuff,” Sparkman said.
He says it’s uncommon to meet people at another company who do the same thing you do.
“Get to work closely with some of your peers that you might not meet around town; you know they’re doing the same thing you are. Just kind of get away from work, have a little fun and some healthy competition,” Sparkman said.
In course one he put down a time of 1:21, the fastest of the day. He had this to say about the basketball goal.
“A little added touch to it, just to separate the men from the boys,” Sparkman stated.
Sparkman has eighteen years of forklifting under his belt, and some consider him the favorite. Course two was pretty much a perfect run for him.
“That’s going to be first place.,” He said
And he was right, even with a handicap.
“The battery was dead on the forklift, so it wouldn’t hardly go,” Sparkman revealed.
But Sparkman said it went enough for him.
Combined time of 3:17 was enough. This wasn’t his first rodeo, and it probably won’t be his last.