MT. STERLING, Ill. - Four Dot Foods employees won an all-expenses-paid vacation to Cancun, Mexico; St. Pete Beach, Florida; Disney World in Orlando, Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; or a cruise after winning top honors at the 14th annual Forklift Rodeo National Championships.

Over 60 warehouse employees from Dot's 11 U.S. distribution centers (DC) and one Canadian DC navigated a pallet-lined obstacle course while balancing a basketball on top of an upside-down trash can to see who would get the best time while maintaining the best safety standards.

Winners, from left to right in the above photo, include: Braxton Prather, Dot Foods Mt. Sterling, narrow aisle; Ryan Stambaugh, Dot Foods Mt. Sterling, forklift; Elliott Thompson, Dot Foods Oklahoma, pallet jack; and Jacob Judy, Dot Foods Indiana, order picker. All took home first prize in their respective category and bragging rights for the year.

In addition to the individual winners, Dot Foods Oklahoma took first prize as the overall DC champion.

Getting to the championships was no easy feat. The various DCs held regional competitions to select the candidates who would represent their location at the national championships in Mt. Sterling.

To win, employees had to show their mastery of job duties and safety practices by completing an obstacle course using one of four pieces of material-handling equipment: narrow aisle, order picker, forklift, and pallet jack. Contestants were penalized for contacting walls, improper stops, horn usage, and dropping a basketball that represents an order.

DC winners then had to compete against Dot's most skilled employees at the National Championships at Dot's corporate headquarters in Mt. Sterling, Illinois, on June 20.

"This is a wonderful way to promote safety, have our employees demonstrate their skills, while giving them a unique experience in which to participate," said Terry Fate, Dot Foods Arizona's director of warehousing. "Warehouse rolling equipment plays such a vital role in our distribution process. The rodeo provides an excellent opportunity for us to recognize the hard work and commitment needed to maintain a safe environment in our warehouses."  

Check out a video of the competition on the Dot Foods Careers Facebook page.