ORLANDO, Fla., Sept. 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Before the sun is up, crews are prepping for a big day of competition at the Epcot Wonders parking lot in Orlando. One large tent is in place for spectators. A second is a "sequester" area for drivers who will be competing in the 30th Annual IFDA Truck Driving Championship. Twelve tractor trailers and six straight trucks are on the lot, some in a pre-trip inspection area, some in line ready for drivers to take on a field course of challenges defined by orange cones and tennis balls and taped lines on the asphalt.
As the sun's first rays hit the Epcot lot and a light breeze kicks up, buses began arriving with the 124 food distribution industry drivers competing in the Championship and spectators would soon follow. It's going to be a beautiful day full of competition, smiles, nail biting, and pats on the back.
"The IFDA Truck Driving Championship promotes a culture of transportation safety," said Mark S. Allen, president and CEO of the International Foodservice Distributors Association. "Each year, foodservice distributions best drivers come together to showcase their exceptional abilities and skills. This Championship rewards and honors professional drivers for everything they do day-in and day-out to keep our roads safe as they do one of America's most demanding and important jobs."
The Championship includes three tests. On Friday, drivers take a written exam of 40 questions ranging from road laws to vehicle safety. On Saturday, drivers perform a pre-trip inspection of a vehicle in their class of competition and drive a field course. For the pre-trip, competitors worked to find ten planted defects that could affect driving safety (worth up to 100 points). On the field course, drivers navigated six challenges that simulated situations they face on the road, but each problem was taken up a notch to make them really challenging. Imagine driving a 48-foot tractor-trailer between two lines of tennis balls with only 3-inches of leeway to either side. Knock one off its stand, and it's minus five points. Knock two off, it's minus ten.
The Championship concludes Sunday evening with a big reception and dinner where winners were announced.
Awards were presented for the three different truck classes in the competition. The winners include:
1st Place: Duane Kaitoku, Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits of Hawaii
2nd Place: Brian Mickels, Shamrock Foods Company - Colorado
3rd Place: Todd Allen, Golden State Foods Corporation
3-Axle (28-foot Tractor/Trailer)
1st Place: Neil Young, HFM Foodservice
2nd Place: Ty Jennings, Performance Foodservice – IFH Florence
3rd Place: Gary Noyes, Shamrock Foods Company - New Mexico
5-Axle (48-foot Tractor/Trailer)
1st Place: Phil Trejo, Shamrock Foods Company - Colorado
2nd Place: Glenn Shaw, Delhaize America Transportation
3rd Place: Tobias Mottley, Delhaize America Transportation
In addition to the individual awards, the 2016 Team Award was presented to Shamrock Foods Company. The award is based on the average score of a company's drivers for the written exam and the field course and is open to any company with three or more drivers in the Championship. Drivers for Shamrock Foods Company earned three of the top nine spots in the competition.
For images of the event, please visit the photo gallery.
For more information:
Chris Caldwell, Director, Communications & Marketing
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SOURCE International Foodservice Distributors Association