Sources: CP staff; National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Silver Spring, Md.
A 19-year veteran of Concrete Supply Co., Charlotte, N.C., Mike Valentine topped a field of 48 in the 2014 National Mixer Driver Championship. The two-day event was staged earlier this fall in Indianapolis as part of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association’s ConcreteWorks Conference & Expo.
A resident of Stanfield, N.C., Valentine qualified for the national competition after taking the 2014 Carolinas Ready Mixed Concrete Association/South Carolina Division Championship, and was presented a trophy and $2,500 from the NRMCA-affiliated Truck Mixer Manufacturers Bureau.
Finishing second and third in this year’s National Mixer Driver Championship—with $1,000 and $500 awards from TMMB—were, respectively: Steve Odehnal of Virginia Beach, Va., who has driven 30-plus years, the last three with Norfolk-based Capital Concrete Inc., and is the reigning Virginia Ready-Mixed Concrete Association driver champion; and, Heath Burgos of Mathew, N.C., who has driven 20-plus years, the past eight with Concrete Supply, and holds the company’s 2014 truck rodeo title. For the first time in the national event’s nine-year history, fourth and fifth place finishers were also recognized—Todd Brown of Manatts Inc. in Newton, Iowa, and Billy Byrd of Prairie Materials in Wanatah, Ind.—each awarded $250 from TMMB.
The competition combines scores from a) two-hour written exam; b) visual vehicle inspection, where contestants are given five minutes, or two passes of a mixer to pinpoint defects normally called on pre-trip inspection; and, c) eight-station challenge course where drivers choose rear or front discharge mixers to navigate backing and forward stop, on target (center of rear bumper, front discharge; rear discharge chute pivot point), parallel park, scale box (aiming rear right tire into 2-ft. square), tennis ball row drive- and back-through, and tightest turn stations.
This year’s course was set up at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and offered drivers five bonus challenges, three (break an egg, chute hoops and mixer bowling) involving chute alignment on a front discharge mixer, stationary or in low gear. New this year were delivery ticket, where drivers were given 90 seconds to weigh in on error-laden paperwork; and, reaction time, testing drivers’ response to changes on a computer screen, final score averaging five tests timed to nearest 10,000th of a second.
The NRMCA Operations, Environmental and Safety Committee administers the National Mixer Driver Championship, pooling winners from state and regional concrete association or individual member company truck competitions.