Monarch Hosts Annual Truck Rodeo
The Monarch Cement Company has 10 operating ready-mix companies that are wholly owned subsidiaries. These companies are spread out across Kansas and Missouri. Across these companies, we have a total of approximately 200 ready-mix drivers. Each spring, each subsidiary is asked to have their own driver competition to determine their two best drivers. Those two drivers are then qualified for our annual Monarch Cement intra-company driver championship which is usually held in late winter or early spring each year. This year we have 16 drivers competing. This year’s competition includes a driver obstacle course, a written test, and a truck inspection station.
The obstacle course has nine different stations. Each station represents a real-life situation they would encounter while navigating routes to the job site, or obstacles encountered while on the job site. The written test is derived from the NRMCA’s (National Ready Mixed Concrete Association) Mixer Truck Driver’s Manual. The test covers four different areas; safety fundamentals, operations, product knowledge, and environmental compliance. The truck inspection station is derived partially from the mandatory FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) pre-trip that each driver is required to do each day. There are also items on the truck inspection that are general safety items that we want our drivers to know, as safety is a huge deal here at Monarch.
By the end of the day, we will pick our champion and reserve champion who will be qualified to compete in the NRMCA National Drivers Championship which this year will be held in Nashville, Tennessee in late September / early October. All expenses for our drivers and their significant others are paid for by the company. Here our drivers will compete against the best of the best from around the nation. There are usually 80 to 100 drivers competing at this level. There is a large cash prize for the top 3 finishers at the national level. Even if you don’t succeed at placing in the top 3, the awards ceremony they have for the drivers on the final night is something a ready-mix driver will never forget. Drivers walk into a large ballroom with a spotlight on them and they are the star of the show for one night. This will be our fourth consecutive year competing at the national level. We are optimistic about bringing home some hardware this year.
We feel this is something that our ready-mix drivers deserve. Being a ready-mix driver means that you have no set hours, you may work 8 to 3 one day, and start at 1:00 in the morning and max out your available hours the next day. During peak season when demand is high, you max out your potential hours each week. Many days they get wet, hot, cold, and sometimes yelled at by some unprofessional customers or dispatchers. They climb in and out of their trucks and up and down their ladders many times per day and are expected to put a 72,000-pound commercial vehicle in spots where most people wouldn’t think of putting a jeep. They work in an environment conducive to making a mess of their trucks but are expected to keep them perfectly clean.
We appreciate our drivers and we hope this shows a small token of our appreciation. With the driver shortage in this company, they are more important than ever. We feel this competition fosters some friendly in-house competition and helps our drivers to be concrete delivery professionals, not just truck drivers.