Dot Foods, the largest food industry redistributor in North America, congratulates its dry warehouse team from Mt. Sterling for earning the title of "All Around Champion" at the company's 2018 Forklift Rodeo National Championship. Dot extends special congratulations to its Mt. Sterling employees Justin Cozad, Walter Brand, and Zach Cox for placing first in their respective competitions - narrow aisle, forklift, and order picker.

Cozad, of Astoria, Ill., is an employee of the frozen warehouse and has been injury-free for all seven years of his employment. Cozad competed on the narrow aisle and was one of 28 first-year finalists and the only first-year who won in his/her division.

Brand, of Mt. Sterling, Ill., is a third-year Dot employee in the cooler warehouse. He has a spotless safety record, and this year marked his second as a finalist in the National Championship. This year, Brand competed on the forklift, but previously competed on the narrow aisle.

Cox, of Rushville, Ill., was also a second-year finalist in the National Championships from the cooler warehouse. Like Cozad, Cox has been injury-free for all seven years of his employment. Cox also competed in 2016; this year marking his second win on the order picker.

Each June, Dot brings finalists from all 11 of its distribution centers across the country to Mt. Sterling to compete in the Forklift Rodeo National Championship. The finalists are selected based on regional competitions at each Dot location. Finalists qualify on one of four pieces of equipment: narrow aisle, forklift, pallet jack, or order picker. The competition is designed to highlight the importance of safety measures and show mastery of their job duties. Finalists must navigate an obstacle course of pallets with their piece of material handling equipment while balancing a basketball on an upturned trash can. Participants are penalized for improper dismounts, basketball drops, bumping objects on the course, and failure to stop or honk at intersections. A finalist from Dot's Modesto, California, location took the top prize on the pallet jack.

"Not everyone in this industry holds an event like the Forklift Rodeo," Bryan Langston, vice president of warehousing, said. "The Rodeo allows our employees, from all different locations, to interact with one another in a fun environment. The National Championship also allows Dot to promote the importance of safety and continue recognizing and rewarding our employees working in the warehouse. Congratulations to all of the winners this year."

As a national champions, Cozad, Brand, and Cox won their choice of an all-expense paid vacation to one of the following locations: Cancun, Mexico, Caribbean cruise, cruise of the Bahamas, Disney World in Orlando, Fla., New York City, San Antonio, or St. Petersburg Beach, Fla.