Kenneth Bowyer of All Crane Rental of Florida won the 2014 MCM & CIC Crane Operator Skills Championship last week in Las Vegas, Nev., beating out other operators from throughout the U.S. and Canada, including two entrants who qualified at CONEXPO-CON/AGG.

By John Guzzon
An operator navigates a barrel through a slalom course during the MCM & CIC Crane Operator Skills Championship last week in Las Vegas, Nev.
By John Guzzon
James Tom of Bakers Welders and Crane, Zanesville, Ohio measures his skills against a simulator at the CIC booth at CONEXPO-CON/AGG March 3.

First runner-up is Bruce Gay, a member of IUOE Local 150 and an operator for Imperial Crane Service, Bridgeview, Ill.. Second runner up is Thomas Cunningham, an operator for Sims Crane & Equipment, Orlando.

All competitors tackled three course challenges and a 265-ton Liebherr LTM 1220-5.2 all-terrain crane, featuring a 197-foot main boom. The course is slightly modified from the one used by CIC to certify operators and is designed to measure the ability to control a load.

The tasks were: lowering the hook into a drum and removing it without knocking the drum over; navigating the drum at a predetermined, steady distance off the ground through a slalom course; and standing a pipe, maneuvering it through a narrow area then laying it down horizontally.

“While the event itself is a lot of fun, CIC acknowledges that this is serious business and crane operators are professionals. Safety and productivity are top of mind for these men, who boast years of experience and qualification via various certification or licensing programs,” said Debbie Dickinson, Executive Director of Crane Institute Certification (CIC).

Bowyer Gay and Cunningham received $2,000, $1,000 and $500 respectively.

According to information supplied by CIC, Gay was in the lead for most of the competition, until Bowyer competed late on the second day and overtook him. By the end of the contest, no one was able to best his score of 545.45. Gay and Cunningham operate different types of cranes on a daily basis as specialists in taxi crane rental. Bowyer primarily operates a Liebherr 1250-6.1 300 ton AT, but has experience on RTs, crawlers, and truck cranes of various makes.

Jesse Pettit, the 2012 Champion, and Gregg Eldridge, who made it to fourth place in 2012, both made respectable finishes at the 2014 Championship, coming in fifth and sixth, respectively. Chris Marlow, another crane operator for Imperial Crane Service, took the fourth position in this year’s event.

“Certified crane operators play an important role in achieving safety and productivity on the job site. Employers can rely on an operator’s certification as the foundation for his or her qualifications. CIC will continue to share this message with operators and their employers at future crane operator skills competitions,” said Dickinson.