Crane Operator Rodeo National Champion Named

Crane Operator Rodeo National Champion Named
Crane Operator Rodeo National Champion Named

MCM Events and Crane Institute Certification (CIC) have named Jesse Pettit the National Champion of the Crane Operator Rodeo competition held Oct. 27, 2013, in Davenport, Fla.  Pettit, an operator for Maxim Crane, Phoenix, Ariz., first got his experience as a crane operator in the U.S. Army and has been operating cranes commercially for about 10 years. Pettit took home $1,000 cash and other prizes sponsored by Manitowoc Cranes.


CIC was the Event Partner for the Crane Operator Rodeo, which included five Regional Qualifiers that culminated in the National Championship last month, where 10 finalists competed using a 66-ton LTR 1060 telescopic crawler crane sponsored by Liebherr Cranes Inc. The official rigging sponsor for the event was the Crosby Group.


“Through the Crane Operator Rodeo we hope to increase awareness for the 2014 OSHA requirement for operators to be certified by type and capacity,” said Debbie Dickinson, executive director of CIC. “We talk to operators every day who are still unsure of what they need to do to be legal. The message has not been covered plainly enough and it’s not reaching the right people,” she said.


Dickinson highlights several misconceptions regarding crane operator certification. The following statements are all false.

·         OSHA will grandfather operators with a certain amount of experience.

·         Qualification received from a training company will suffice as certification.

·         Local or state licenses are all that will be required in those jurisdictions.

·         All accredited certifications are equal.


She warns: “Operators must have a national certification that is accredited by type and capacity. Operators should pull out their cards to make sure it reflects this information.”


In addition, the Crane Operator Rodeo is an opportunity to provide positive publicity for the crane and rigging industry. “For every accident that gets media there are hundreds of highly skilled operators out there keeping the industry safe. This was a chance for operators to show off their considerable knowledge and skills,” said Dickinson. 


For the National Championship the crawler crane was set up at its maximum 5° offset and with the boom extended to 124 feet. The course was further from than crane than during the Regional Qualifiers and the skills tests were more difficult. Gusty conditions added to the challenge.


“At the Regional Rodeo Qualifier Events the cranes were operated with 70 feet of boom. In the National Championship we increased that to 124 feet because the longer the boom the more skill it takes to control the load,” said Jim Headley, president of Crane Institute of America, Sanford, Fla., which is the parent company of CIC.


“The biggest challenge was the unlevelness of the crane and the wind, but this creates a scenario for better showcasing the skill of the operator,” Pettit said, before competing in the final round.


The operators posting the four lowest scores competed in a second round, and those with the best three scores took home prizes. First runner-up was Mark Adcock of Crane Rental Corp., Davenport, Fla. Second runner-up was John Seach of Marco Crane & Rigging, Phoenix, Ariz. The other qualifier in the final four was Gregg Eldridge of Payne’s Cranes, Bainbridge, N.Y.


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