Trailer Backing Rodeo 2011 (Tips from the Pros)

1 07 2011

Last week during the River House All Staff training we participated in what has become known as the “Trailer Rodeo.”  It was a “Corinthian” event, meaning we were participating and “encouraging” for the sport’s sake.  Not to mention, it is great practice using the skills necessary to back up a trailer.  The event features a sharpened pencil taped to the side of the trailer and in the parking lot is an egg placed on top of an orange cone.  The object is to get the tip of the pencil as close to the egg without knocking it off.  (Bonus points for drawing a line on the egg!)  Measurements this year were taken in miles, yds, ft, cm, and mm with the closest distance taking home bragging rights and being crowned the Trailer Rodeo Champion!

Here are some Tips from the Pros for those moments when YOU find yourself backing up a trailer to unload a raft or want to get really close to an egg…

Tip #1 – Get a spotter.  It is important to have someone watch your back.  Maintain visual connection with your spotter and if you cannot see them, STOP.

Tip #2 – Plan and Communicate.  Go over with your spotter where the trailer needs to be when you are done and confirm how you are going to communicate.  Agree on hand signals. 

Here are some hand signal demonstrations from some professional competitors.

Keep in mind, some people do not respond to visual cues!

Tip#3 – Master the art of The Setup.  When setting up the trailer, try to keep the trailer in the same path backing up as the vehicle or slightly cocked in the desired direction.  Grab the bottom of the wheel and turn the wheel in the direction you want your trailer to go.  If you want to turn the trailer start by cranking the wheel all the way to start, slowly back up, and then unwind back to straight.

Tip#4 – Understand “Jack-Knifing” and your limits of the vehicle’s turn radius. 

Jack-knifing is a situation where the trailer is perpendicular to the vehicle.  The trailer becomes positioned at such a severe angle that the vehicle is no longer steering the trailer. Rather, it is putting an enormous amount of stress at the junction and in this position something has to give.  Damages resulting from jack-knifing can be costly and preventable. 

The turning radius is the ability your vehicle can turn and corner.  It is different for every make and model of vehicle and not really felt and understood until you have experienced making a tight turn.  Having experience driving the vehicle is valuable information to know how much room you will need to “swing out,” “come around,” and prevent jack-knifing. 

Tip #5 – Practice, Practice, Practice!   People learn better by doing and thinking, doing and thinking, doing and thinking…  Check it out!


Our Congratulations go out to Clare Gordon, this year’s Trailer Rodeo Champion!, with a distance of 2mm!!

We would also like to thank all of the competitors, spotters, encouragers, and hecklers at this year’s rodeo!  Job Well Done!


 Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: