Lyman-Richey Drivers Win Big
By BRADY JONES
The Lyman-Richey Corporation team of drivers left the Nebraska Truck Driving Championships with a load of trophies last weekend, sweeping the mixer truck division and qualifying two drivers for nationals.
Luke Beierman, Central Sand and Gravel - Columbus, took the top spot in a really competitive flatbed division, which was particularly amazing because he doesn’t even drive a flatbed usually and he was up against really tough competition, including previous division champions.
“We’d never competed in that class before,” said Safety Administrator George Claxton. “But here’s this guy who grew up on a farm and can drive anything, and he came in there and just blew the competition away.”
John Brezina, Gerhold Concrete - Grand Island; Tommy Inzauro, Ready Mixed Concrete - Elkhorn; and Steve Kelley, Ready Mixed Concrete - Bellevue, went first, second, and third in the mixer truck class.
Claxton said Brezina’s win was the first time a Gerhold driver had placed in the competition.
Mixer truck drivers Joseph Spillum, Ready Mixed Concrete - Millard; Kenny Dillon, Ready Mixed Concrete Bellevue; Nick Siracuse, Ready Mixed Concrete - Millard; and Ryan Brasch, Ready Mixed Concrete - Elkhorn, also competed in the championships, which were held in Grand Island, Neb., on May 31 and June 1.
“Our mixer drivers went down there and took care of business,” Claxton said. “They showed everyone what we already know: We’re the best in the Midwest!”
As the flatbed truck champion, Beierman qualified to compete at the National Truck Driving Championships held in Pittsburgh. Brezina, the mixer truck champion, qualified to compete in the National Mixer Driver Championship in Kissimmee, Fla.
“Our company should be proud of all of our competitors,” LRC Safety Director Allen Myers said. “It takes a lot of work studying, practicing, and preparing for the championships. And like all of our drivers, these guys take great pride in their work. And even though it’s a kind of fun competition, they also take it seriously. We were well represented by the team last weekend.”
The competition consists of four parts: a written exam, a personal interview, a pre-trip inspection, and the skills course.
The written exam consists of a grueling 40 questions, and the personal interview is with Nebraska State Patrol officers. Drivers must also perform a pre-trip inspection on a truck and identify all of the problem spots created for the competition.
Finally, they must complete an intense obstacle course, which tested precise stopping skills, involved incredibly tight turns, and included backing their trucks and trailers through a 10-foot-wide barricaded space.
“The obstacle course would be a challenge for anyone to navigate in their personal cars,” Myers said. “Now imagine trying to do that with a 10-ton mixer truck or a 50-foot trailer.”
“Everyone did a great job and did their best,” said LRC Field Safety Specialist Dom Williams, who was at the championships for the first time. “We had rookies and guys who have previously competed coming back, so we’re setting ourselves up for even more success in the future.”
Safety Administrator Claxton - a long-time veteran of both the industry and the competition - was also honored at the event. The Nebraska Trucking Association recognized him as a “legendary” volunteer for his 17 years working with the organization and competition.
And since Ready Mixed Concrete Co. loaned the use of one of its new trucks for the event, Claxton was responsible for driving it from Omaha to Grand Island and back.
“That made an old man happy at the end of my career,” he said. “It brought a tear to my eye on the way back because I got to reminiscing about past times.”
With his many years of experience behind him - first as a driver, then in the safety department, and volunteering with the organization - Claxton said the competition has great benefits for both the drivers and the company at large.
"If you’ve driven safely all year, you get to go out and compete with the best of the best,” he said. “And it lets everyone know which company has the best drivers, too.”