Although housing starts and construction employment numbers commonly indicate growth in the concrete industry, many also watch another key indicator: attendance at World of Concrete. This year we were not disappointed. Almost 55,000 industry professionals attended World of Concrete 2013, Feb. 2-5, in Las Vegas, making it “the best show in years,” according to show management.

“Optimism was evident throughout World of Concrete 2013 with positive results from exhibitors as well as attendees,” according to show director Jackie James. “Also, our international attendance continues to grow.”

World of Concrete returns to Las Vegas Jan. 21-24, 2014; seminars begin Jan. 20.

Serious Trucks Challenge

The third annual Western Star Serious Trucks Challenge brought the spirit of friendly competition to World of Concrete. Drivers competed for prizes and, more importantly, bragging rights as the industry’s most skilled ready-mix truck handlers. Over three days, almost 200 participants drove the Western Star 4900SF rear-discharge mixer, 4700SF dump truck, and 4700SB crane.

The course was set up to test drivers in various situations they might encounter at a jobsite. Drivers were tested on parallel parking, S-curves, driver-side parking, blind-side parking, and backing up and stopping on a 42-foot, steeply graded ramp. Contestants earned points for successfully completing each maneuver.

With a total of 49 out of 50 points, Gary Piercy from Othello, Wash., took first place (up from fifth place in 2012), winning two VIP passes to the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Race. In second place with 48 points and 3.42 minutes, Brian Saionz from Fremont, Ohio, received a $500 Apple Store gift card. The third place winner, Brandon Niemi from Marne, Mich., also scored 48 points with a time of 5.4 minutes and took home a $200 Best Buy gift card.

For more information, visit www.westernstar.com.