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Crane Rodeo Update: National Champion Named

Crane Institute of America Certification (CIC) and MCM Events, a division of Maximum Capacity Media, have named Jesse Pettit the National Champion of the Crane Operator Rodeo competition held Oct. 27, 2013 in Davenport, Florida.  Pettit, an operator for Maxim Crane in Phoenix, Arizona, first got his experience as a crane operator in the U.S. Army and has been operating cranes commercially for about 10 years.  Pettit took home $1,000 cash and other prizes sponsored by Manitowoc Cranes.

CIC was the Event Partner for the Crane Operator Rodeo, which included five Regional Qualifiers (including one in Houston that Construction Citizen reported on) that culminated in the National Championship in October, where 10 finalists competed using a 66-ton LTR 1060 telescopic crawler crane donated by Liebherr Cranes Inc.

“Through the Crane Operator Rodeo we hope to increase awareness for the 2014 OSHA requirement for operators to be certified by type and capacity,” said Debbie Dickinson, executive director of CIC.  “We talk to operators every day who are still unsure of what they need to do to be legal.  The message has not been covered plainly enough and it’s not reaching the right people,” she said.

Dickinson highlights several misconceptions regarding crane operator certification. The following statements are all false.

  • OSHA will grandfather operators with a certain amount of experience.
  • Qualification received from a training company will suffice as certification.
  • Local or state licenses are all that will be required in those jurisdictions.
  • All accredited certifications are equal.


Dickinson offered the following warning:

“Operators must have a national certification that is accredited by type and capacity.  Operators should pull out their cards to make sure it reflects this information.”

In addition, the Crane Operator Rodeo is an opportunity to provide positive publicity for the crane and rigging industry.  “For every accident that gets media there are hundreds of highly skilled operators out there keeping the industry safe.  This was a chance for operators to show off their considerable knowledge and skills,” said Dickinson.

For the National Championship the crawler crane was set up at its maximum 5 degree offset and with the boom extended to 124 feet.  The course was further from the crane than during the Regional Qualifiers, and the skills tests were more difficult.  In addition, the far-reaching effects of Hurricane Sandy, which was strengthening for a brutal landfall much farther to the north at the time, created gusty conditions which greatly added to the challenge.  Jim Headley, president of the Crane Institute of America which is the parent company of CIC, explained:

“At the Regional Rodeo Qualifier Events the cranes were operated with 70 feet of boom.  In the National Championship we increased that to 124 feet because the longer the boom, the more skill it takes to control the load.”

“The biggest challenge was the unlevelness of the crane and the wind, but this creates a scenario for better showcasing the skill of the operator,” Pettit said, before competing in the final round.

The operators posting the four scores with the lowest deductions competed in a second round, and those with the best three scores took home prizes.  First runner-up was Mark Adcock of Crane Rental Corp in Davenport, Florida.  Second runner-up was John Seach of Marco Crane & Rigging in Phoenix, Arizona.  The other qualifier in the final four was Gregg Eldridge of Payne’s Cranes in Bainbridge, New York.

Crane Institute Certification (CIC) is an independent certifying organization providing OSHA recognized, NCCA accredited certifications for mobile crane operators in up to five classifications according to type and capacity including tower crane operator, overhead crane operator, basic and advanced rigger, and signalperson certifications.  Exams are available in English and Spanish.

MCM Events is a division of Maximum Capacity Media, which publishes construction equipment trade magazines, including Crane and Rigging Hot Line.





Source: Crane Institute of America


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