Forklift Rodeo Reality Show an Actual Thing in New Zealand

Commentary and Opinion

Regular readers of this blog may recall when I facetiously pitched an idea for a reality show based on the growing popularity of forklift rodeos.

forkliftWell, apparently a television production company in New Zealand had the same idea because the “World Forklift League” TV show currently is filming in locations throughout the South Pacific country this week.

What the what?!

An Actual  Show about Forklift Drivers

Kahawai Productions is pitting forklift drivers from companies throughout New Zealand against each other for the program, which is scheduled to air on Maori Television later this year.

But because it’s television, the standard forklift rodeo competitions of carrying basketballs or trying to move a load through an obstacle course had to be juiced up a little bit to make them more entertaining.

For example, the competition filmed Monday (or Tuesday if you take the International Date Line into consideration) was a forklift “golf challenge” that required operators to life an over-sized golf ball with their vehicle’s forks, drive it through a golf-themed obstacle course and place the balls onto giant putting greens.

Not Necessarily a Comedy

The series is being hosted by New Zealand comedian Mike King, who says he worked as a forklift driver “many moons ago.” During the show, King jokes about accidentally tipping over a shipping container as two other people worked inside it.

Apparently, New Zealand humor doesn’t translate well to US audiences.

Even the New Zealand locations where the series is being filmed sound super cool: The Octagon, the Dunedin Chinese Garden, the Dunedin Gasworks Museum, Taieri Airfield, Dunedin Railway Station.

The Octagon?! Are you kidding me? That sounds like something I would totally watch! I wonder if I can find it on YouTube?

US Version Could Work

Anyway, all I have to say is: See, I told you this would work!

So here’s my original pitch to any interested US TV producers out there:

For years, companies have been hosting forklift rodeos to promote forklift safety and boost productivity through friendly competition between forklift drivers. While these contests have been held outside the spotlight, they have provided a lot of fun and entertainment not only for the participants, but for their peers and co-workers as well.

Using obstacle courses and such fun and TV-friendly, tension-building contests such as precariously balancing a basketball, the best drivers are identified and move on to bigger tournaments where they  can compete head-to-head with the best operators in the country.

Competitions often start at the facility level and winners advance to regional rodeos. The champions of these are then invited to attend national rodeo competitions where the ultimate winner is declared the best forklift driver within a particular company. Sort of like “American Idol”, only with heavy machinery.

In some instances, different companies compete against each other in the spirit of friendly rivalry and for the promotion of workplace safety. Sometimes these events are even sponsored by vocational training programs or community colleges.

Forklifts area a naturally appealing subject for a television show. Not only are they big and powerful, but with the right person at their controls they are capable of performing miraculous feats of stunning intricacy.

And to say that forklift operators can often be colorful characters is an understatement …

So what do you say, Hollywood? Is America ready for “Forklift Rodeo: The TV Show”? It would sure beat watching another dumb singing competition!

If you’re interested, call me. Let’s do lunch.