SAN ANTONIO. Engagement is growing at the Rush Truck Centers Tech Skills Rodeo, where this year a record number of truck technicians — more than 1,400 — tried out to qualify for the competition. Over $225,000 in cash and prizes will be given out at the event, which has become a signature part of the culture at this nationwide truck dealership and service provider.
"I have six guys competing this year out of Orlando. Our guy Travis Graham won two years ago," noted Kevin Smith, service manager at Rush Truck Center Orlando, FL. "They know when it's Rodeo time and they're anxious to do the testing. They're excited for it. They're ready to test. They want the small vacation and they want a chance to win it."
Here at the event, now in its 12th year and showing its maturity, it's like a lesson in employee retention and focus. Graham won in the heavy duty category and as overall Rodeo champ in 2015 when he was 24 years old; he only started working as a technician for Rush in early 2013. He represents a demographic many truck dealerships are struggling to reach.
"I get to show up and fix stuff and accomplish things," he told Fleet Owner. "I do like analytical thinking and working through problems. I like the challenges of the job and experiencing different stuff every day."
Check out our slideshow of the first day of competition, where the Rush techs duke it out to see who'll make it to the finals.