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April 20, 2004

Forklift Rodeo regional competition looking for drivers

TUMWATER — Professional forklift operators from across the state will demonstrate their skills this summer during regional qualifying competitions for the 7th Annual Forklift Rodeo. The regional contests take place at Confluence State Park in Wenatchee June 5, the Teamster Building in Spokane July 24 and at Boeing's Oxbow Facility in Duwamish Aug. 14.

The top seven individual qualifiers and the top two teams from each regional competition will compete in the Forklift Rodeo Sept. 29 at the 53rd Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Conference. The annual conference will be Sept. 29-30 at the Spokane Convention Center. The conference is co-sponsored by the Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Advisory Board and the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I).

The goal of the Forklift Rodeo is to promote safe forklift operation and display the talent of forklift operators. Top championship prizes of $500, $400 and $300 will be awarded to the conference’s rodeo winners.

Employers are encouraged to sponsor in-house competitions and send their best drivers. Those who place first, second and third at the regionals will win prizes ranging from $100 to $300.

Competitors will test their abilities in the following: a written exam, pre-use inspection of a forklift and an obstacle course. The forklifts being provided are rated at 5,000 pounds and equipped with automatic transmissions.

Entry fee for the regional competitions is $40. Spectators are free. Applications are online at: www.wagovconf.org. They’re also available by calling Mike Farley at 360-902-5591 or the toll-free message line at 888-451-2004. TDD users can call 360-902-5797.

The annual forklift competition is one of the featured events at this year’s safety and health conference. The conference offers opportunities for learning the latest tools, technologies and strategies for improving workplace safety and health. The conference program includes panel discussions, featured presentations, trade show exhibits, demonstrations, workshops and more.

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For media information: Jim Knutsen at 360-902-5402; e-mail: knuj235@lni.wa.gov

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