NRMCA puts ‘Best of the Best’ to the test

Larry Dale Lowe, Jr. of Sallisaw, Okla., won the 2011 National Mixer Driver Championship in San Diego, topping a field of 24 competitors representing 18 NRMCA producer members from as many states. A 12-year GCC Mid-Continent Concrete veteran currently running a four-axle, Kenworth-mounted McNeilus mixer, he qualified for the late-September event by taking this year’s Arkansas Ready Mixed Concrete Association Truck Rodeo.

Other Mixer Driver Championship leaders were Irving Materials’ Chris Daniels of Nashville, second place, who won the IMI corporate rodeo this year; and, Trent Slavens of Rossville, Ind., third place, who in 2010 won the NRMCA national title (Charlotte) and IMI corporate rodeo, and was 2009 Indiana Ready Mixed Concrete Association Rodeo top gun. Both run Terex Advance front discharge mixers and, along with Lowe, are NRMCA Certified Delivery Professionals.

The NRMCA Operations, Environmental and Safety Committee administers the Mixer Driver Championship, combining scores from a written exam (1 hour, 45 minutes max); visual vehicle inspection test (five minutes); and, a 10-station (eight weighted, two bonus) challenge course measuring drivers’ truck or tire alignment skills with rear or front discharge mixers in forward and reverse gear. The course was set up at Vulcan Materials’ Mission Valley Ready Mix plant, an early NRMCA Green Star-certified site (note sidebar, page 15). Tests were administered at the Sheraton San Diego, also the venue for the association’s annual ConcreteWorks Conference & Expo. Attendees saluted all championship drivers during an awards dinner.

Now in its sixth year, this year’s competition “was the closest to date,” according to NRMCA Senior Vice President of Operations and Compliance Gary Mullings. The 24 drivers, which included state rodeo champions as well as NRMCA member company champions from around the nation, competed to be the “Best of the Best.”