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Mobley Concrete, Ozinga Ready Mix Concrete, Irving Materials professionals lead 2016 National Mixer Driver Championship

From a record, 83-contestant field, Chris Harrison of Mobley Concrete Co., Russellville, Ark., took the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association National Mixer Driver Championship in Nashville, staged earlier this fall during the group’s 2016 ConcreteWorks. After placing second in the 2012 and 2015 competitions (Washington, D.C.; San Antonio), Harrison earned a $2,500 cash prize from the NRMCA Truck Mixer Manufacturers Bureau for this year’s first place finish. In addition to his performance on the national level, Harrison is the 2014 and 2015 Arkansas Ready Mixed Concrete Association Champion Driver. He has 15-plus years’ in heavy-duty trucking, and currently operates a Kenworth-mounted McNeilus mixer.

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NRMCA Operations, Environmental and Safety Committee Chairman Tim Kauzlick (Cemex) led individual recognition of 2016 National Mixer Driver Championship contenders, and salute to the top finishers at Nashville’s Wild Horse Saloon. PHOTOS: Concrete Products

Harrison and four other top finishers were recognized at a robust reception in downtown Nashville. Ozinga Ready Mix Concrete Inc. driver Billy Byrd, Sr. of Wanatah, Ind., earned a $1,000 prize for his second place finish, repeating a 2013 National Mixer Driver Championship performance. He has logged more than a decade in ready mixed concrete delivery, and presently operates a Terex front discharge truck.

Rounding out 2016 National Mixer Driver Championship top five, earning $200–$500 prizes for third to fifth place finishes, respectively, were Verlin Wagler of Cannelburg, Ind., who has been driving for Irving Materials Inc. since 1995 and is the IMI Corporate Rodeo champion; Harvey Harmon, who has worked for Concrete Supply Co. for six years, took the 2014 Carolinas Ready Mixed Concrete Association Rodeo and finished second in the 2015 National Mixer Driver Championship; and, 31-year veteran and 2015 NRMCA Driver of the Year Ed Rieper of Eastern Concrete Materials, Saddle Brook, N.J.

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Flanking Mobley Concrete’s Chris Harrison are, from left, IMI’s Verlin Wagler, Ozinga RMC’s Billy Byrd, Sr., Eastern Concrete’s Ed Rieper, and Concrete Supply’s Harvey Harmon.
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The National Mixer Driver Championship challenge course was set up at the 2016 ConcreteWorks host venue, the Gaylord Opryland Resort. It combined requisite skills stations, plus bonus challenges where drivers could earn prizes separate from championship honors.
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CHAMPIONSHIP COURSE

The NRMCA Operations, Environmental and Safety Committee opens the National Mixer Driver Championship to winners of state, regional or member company truck driving competitions. The program factors scores from a written exam, reaction time and vehicle inspection tests, plus a challenge course where drivers choose a rear or front discharge truck to navigate back and forward stop; on target (rear bumper, center stop); scale box (rear tandem target); parallel park; tennis ball row drive-, back-through, and tightest turn stations. New to this year’s challenge course was a station from Irving Materials’ corporate mixer truck rodeo, Railroad Crossing, where drivers aim for a safe threshold ahead of the tracks.

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RAILROAD CROSSING
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TIGHTEST TURN
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SCALE BOX
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ON TARGET
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TENNIS BALL DRIVE-THROUGH
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CHUTE HOOPS