Celebrating Those Who Sacrifice

Posted by Scott Rea on June 13, 2017 in the category Hiring, Retention
side view of a semi truck

At AvatarFleet, we love safe drivers. The Ohio Trucking Association’s (OTA) Truck Driving Championships and Technician Competition in Sandusky are tournaments for the best in the business to compete for the top driver and technician in Ohio. 208 drivers and 28 technicians competed in this year’s event. The drivers who compete each year continues to grow but real success comes from the increased family participation. 960 people attended the Saturday night banquet to celebrate the competitors.

This all-time record is a testament to the OTA and trucking companies putting the driver and their families first. The Kalahari Indoor Waterpark and Resort is the perfect place for drivers to bring their families for a long weekend. Their employers are making it possible by paying for lodging and providing a few days off. This is a fitting reward for the driver who sacrifices family time for his profession.

The Competition

Any OTA member can register their drivers who have a clean driving record from the end of the previous Ohio competition. At the competition, drivers took a written exam, performed a timed pre-trip with planted defects, and completed a challenging course with six problems. Technicians completed a written exam and had to solve various simulated scenarios in 9 different stations.

The 2017 winner is no stranger to the stage: FedEx driver Scott Woodrome was named Grand Champion for the 2nd time and will be headed to the American Trucking Associations championships in Orlando in August. Pitt Ohio took the Large Team trophy. The Small Team trophy was awarded to the drivers from Martin Brower. There’s a full list of winners by class on OTA’s website.

Why Your Drivers Should Compete Next Year

Events like this are fantastic for promoting safe driving. The championships offer an opportunity to celebrate the professional skill of your drivers and show the world that what they do is important. Regardless of how your drivers do in the competition, they get a weekend where an Association and their families celebrate them.

There’s also the bonus of company pride. Drivers take this event seriously and appreciate the companies who give them a weekend with their families. Scott Woodrome and Steven Brand from FedEx Freight use the competition as an opportunity to mentor younger drivers. FedEx Freight sets up a practice course weeks in advance to practice for the competition. Scott and Steve have been here many times and help the rookies get comfortable with the event. The rookies know they only get to compete with a clean driving record and use that extra motivation to operate the vehicle in a safe manner.

During the awards ceremony, drivers who won an award would receive big bear hugs and shouts of love. It was louder than the ESPYs or Oscars because these guys care. There were a few tears from winners who have years invested in this competition. The loudest eruption for a winner went to Pitt Ohio driver Howard Friend who completely lost it when his son, James, won Rookie of the Year. Howard finished second in the straight truck class moments later but it was an afterthought to him – he was still over-the-moon proud of his son.

Your drivers deserve recognition and applause for their safe driving as well. If you did not attend this year’s OTA Truck Driving Championships, be sure to get registered for next May. The event is family friendly, a good time, and a great way to promote safe driving and celebrate team success. You’re proud of your drivers; why not show the competition how good they really are?

We put together a quick recap of the championships for those who couldn’t make it. Watch it here!

 

 

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