Sims Crane to Stage Crane Safety Rodeo

In January and February 2011, Sims Crane & Equipment Co., Tampa, Fla., will host a crane operation competition for its operators. The winner will be awarded a trip to Las Vegas in March to attend ConExpo-Con/Agg and to participate in the MCM Crane Operator Rodeo, hosted by Maximum Capacity Media, publisher of Crane Hot Line magazine.

Sims Crane has 109 operators, all of whom are certified through the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators. The 2011 event—the company’s 9th Crane Safety Rodeo—is a memorial competition for former operator Dennis Kastens, who recently died in a rock climbing accident. This year, trials will be on Saturdays beginning January 8 at seven of the company’s 10 locations throughout Florida. The top two operators from each yard will compete in finals to be held Feb. 12 at the company’s Tampa headquarters.

Using a 40-ton Terex truck crane, operators will compete for best time on a course that requires the load to be negotiated through a zigzag formation. The course includes two 90 degree turns testing the operator’s skill at swinging and booming up and down without knocking into the perimeter cones. According to Dean Sims II, vice president of marketing for the company, the final competition will repeat the timed course and include two rounds of other challenges designed to demonstrate accuracy and delicate load handling skills. Bob Berry, safety director, will officiate the competition.

Family members of the operators will be invited to watch the trials and join the company for a cookout. “An event like this gives the operators something to be proud of and it helps the families feel more connected to the company,” said Dean Sims II, vice president of marketing for the Sims Crane. “When we heard about the MCM Crane Operator Rodeo we decided to move our event to earlier in the year in order to give our top operator a chance to compete in the event in Las Vegas,” he said.

The MCM Crane Operator Rodeo is designed to promote education and safety in crane operations as well as provide a hands-on operational experience. It is being held during show hours in the Gold Lot adjacent to Liebherr booth G370 and is open to anyone registered for the show. Attendees can test their skills on mobile crane simulators sponsored by Crane Institute Certification and donated by Vortex Simulators. To operate the Liebherr LTF 1045-4.1 truck crane, attendees must either first show proficiency on the simulators before advancing to the mobile crane course, or show officials a current mobile crane operator certification card. The mobile crane course is a modified version of one used for CIC practical exams designed by Mike Parnell of Industrial Training International. Top score winners in both the simulator and mobile crane categories will each receive a trophy.

In addition to CIC and Liebherr, other sponsors for the event include The Crosby Group, DICA, Hirschmann Automation and Control, Industrial Training International, Quality Mat Company, and Slingmax Rigging Solutions.