Cloverdale hosts B.C. forklift championships

Forklift operators are gathering Saturday at Cloverdale's Agriplex for the 14th annual B.C. Forklift Rally, an event that tests expertise, accuracy and ability to get the job done safely.

A competitor at last year's forklift rally.

Forklift operators are gathering Saturday at Cloverdale’s Agriplex for the 14th annual B.C. Forklift Rally, an event that tests expertise, accuracy and the ability to get the job done safely.

Hundreds of friends, family members and coworkers are expected to help cheer the competitors on as they maneuver their forklifts through obstacle courses designed to test skill and dexterity in handling the equipment.

Speed and course accuracy are tested, too. Competitors are penalized for improper or unsafe handling practices. There’s also a multiple choice exam on WorkSafe BC regulations.

Forklift basketball and forklift bowling are also part of the competition.

“It promotes safety and professionalism in a fun way,” event chair Dan Beer said.

Admission is free for spectators.

Last year’s rally, also in Cloverdale, drew 500 spectators and 90 competitors vying for $2,800 in prize money.

Returning competitor John Jepsen will be defending his title as 2010 champion of the Counterbalanced division.

He signed up last year on a whim after stumbling upon the event online.

“A few coworkers joined me last year,” Jepsen said. “They even made posters to hold up: ‘Go John Go. This year there will be a little more pressure with both my fiance and in-laws watching.”

The event also features a trade show in addition to the forklift rally, which aims to “recognize and reward the operators who keep the country moving,” said John Gilder, general manager of the rally, and the event organizer, the Canadian Materials Handling and Distribution Society. “It’s a day for working men and women to get together, have some fun, and celebrate their skills.”

For more information on the 14th annual B.C. Championship Forklift Rally or for contest entry details, visit http://forkliftrally.com.

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