LONGVIEW(KYTX) - Precision, speed, and concentration, all must haves while competing for all the bragging rights in East Texas. The 2nd Annual Forklift Rodeo at the Maude Cobb Convention Center wasn't only to have fun,but was to make working around these machines a bit safer.
"It's pretty dangerous. You're always going around blind turns with lots of people around. It keeps you on your toes."
Before the obstacle courses, operators were given a class on how to be safer. Lance Owen has been driving forklifts for over 20 years and he says this event puts things in perspective for some of the younger guys.
"it makes us operators more aware, by tunning it down to the finer points. You gotta be real careful"
The competition has drivers weave through these cones, pick up cones without knocking a tennis ball off of the top of them, and to make a basketball shot with the forklift. Executive Director of the Longview Economic Development Corporation says it's a way to get these guys out of the warehouse.
"It's a way to combine an educational experience, and a networking opportunity."
She says industry jobs like forklift drivers is big money for Longview.
"They really are the tax foundation for this area. These are good paying jobs, that have wages that people can buy homes and send their kids to college. And that helps everyone else."
For competitors like Juan Martinez says he has looked forward to the rodeo, the past 2 years.
"I like it a lot. I get out of work for a little bit, and have a lot of fun."