Ozinga ready mix driver Bruce Mitchell (pictured right) took third place at the 10th Annual Indiana Ready Mixed Concrete Association (IRMCA) Mixer Driver Competition on June 2, 2018. The IRMCA competition tests drivers on a written exam, truck inspection, and up to 10 driving challenges.
Mitchell has been a part of mixer driver competitions in the past. In 2015, he took third place in the IRMCA competition and fifth place in the National Ready Mix Concrete Association (NRMCA) Mixer Driver Championship. Mitchell has been with Ozinga since 2002 and has 25 years of experience as a ready mix driver.
This year’s competition started with a written test, followed by a pre-trip truck inspection. Drivers completed the competition by taking a skills test where competitors operated ready mix trucks in obstacle courses including the hoop chute, egg break, bowling pins, backing up, on target, left turn, and railroad tracks.
Ozinga drivers are no strangers to the IRMCA competition. In 2015 and 2016, Ozinga South Bend driver John Dowell took home first place and was named state champion of the skills competition, earning him a trip to the NRMCA National Championship. In 2016, Billy Byrd Sr. took second place at the NRMCA competition and in 2017 won the IRMCA competition. Kelly Jenkins took third place at the IRMCA in 2017 as well.
In order to determine who attends the IRMCA competition, our Indiana operation hosts and in-house rodeo. Coworkers Mike Conquest, Joe Garcia, Laura Niehoff, and Ed Houin worked diligently to simulate the IRMCA competition with tests, inspections, and courses. This year’s in-house rodeo was held on May 19, 2018 at our Plymouth plant. Drivers were given a multiple choice test, asked to do a pre-trip inspection, and tasked with seven challenges on a skills course. The top three drivers from the in-house rodeo were sent to the IRMCA competition. Along with Bruce Mitchell, Ozinga drivers Kelly Jenkins and Freddy Blakely competed at the state level.
"It’s such a fun event, and we are happy to participate," said Joe Sanders, Executive Vice President of the Indiana ready mix operation. "We’ve established a strong reputation at both the state and national levels, and it’s always a point of pride when one of Ozinga’s best receives an award. Whenever Bruce Mitchell shows up for a truck rodeo, he’s in the running. Kelly and Freddy did good too, and Freddy’s only been driving for a couple of years. Mike Conquest and Joe Garcia did a great job in generating interest with our drivers and in helping out at the state competition. We’re already looking forward to next year."