For those individuals not familiar with the sport of Forklift Rodeo which is much like bullriding, I will give a few particulars regarding the rules and practice of the sport. First the forks of a large industrial forklift are driven into two stalks of 8" diameter polyethylene (plastic) pipe about 12' in length. Secondly, the contestant/victim straddles the two stalks of pipe close to the end of the stalks. Thirdly, a nylon strap approximately 14' in length is wound around the pipe much like a bullrope and is used to dally the hand the same as a bullrider. Then the forklift operator raises the forks so that the contestant/victim is about 3' off the concrete floor so that the contestant/victim will not bang the ground with his feet, revs the engine and pops the clutch. This procedure causes the pipe to bounce wildly and gives the contestant/victim one hell of a ride, that most of the time causes him to crash to the concrete floor.
The sport of forklift rodeo had been practiced for a while at the plant but the shift I was on perfected the sport. This was due to the makeup of the people on the shift. You have already been introduced to the supervisor, if you haven't just scroll down a couple of posts and read about him in Random Acts of Stupidity, there was also Bronco Billy, who was the superisor's faithful yes-man, myself, and J. D. an ex professional bullrider; whose claim to fame was that in the mid-80's , he was the winner of the Hard Luck Award at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. You might have actually seen J.D. on television. The footage of his award winning performance has been on more than one clip show, I saw one entitled "Dangerous Games People Play". He made the full eight seconds but then got hung in the rope and was beat half to death. At times I wondered if he might have been stomped in the head a few too many times but I never doubted his courage. Every one of his stories ended up , 'And that is when I ended up at the hospital in (insert name of city here).
To give everyone a glimpse into the actual practice of the sport, I will relate a story of one event. We were training a new employee and the supervisor and Bronco Billy convinced the newbie to try out forklift rodeo. J. D. helped dally him down and I took up a spot close enough to the action to innocently spectate. After the newbie was strapped in the supervisor took his position as the forklift operator, reved up the engine to a deafening roar, and popped the clutch. On the first bounce, the newbie bounced 10' in the air and came crashing to the concrete floor. The supervisor and his faithful yes-man stared in horror at the prostrate body of the newbie wondering how they would get the supervisor's ass out of this crack. I was actually trying to keep a straight face after I saw that he wasn't dead, I can't help it for some perverse reason the pain of others amuses me. That is when J. D. walks over, turns his head and spits tobacco juice a polite distance from the newbies head, and says "Puss". I did manage to get mostly out of earshot before busting a gut.
( No Idiots were seriously injured or fired during forklift rodeo. And all names have been changed to protect the guilty.)