Makers Madness tournament kicks off to find the ‘Coolest Thing’ made in Illinois

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — What’s the coolest thing made in Illinois? It’s the question leaders at the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association are are asking during the Makers Madness Tournament.

Last year, the winner was a Caterpillar mining truck. Other local nominees for last year’s tournament were a Komatsu truck and Beer Nuts bar mix.

“Cool is in the eye of the beholder. That’s the neat thing. Last year we had 260 plus products; anything from Caterpillar’s large mining machine that stood 23 foot tall with a payload of millions of pounds,” said IMA CEO and President Mark Denzler.

Denzler said manufacturers stepped up to meet growing needs and demand during the pandemic. He said it’s a large industry and provides more than 90% of the state’s exports.

“Illinois manufacturers employ employ 555,000 women and men on factory floors today who are some of the unsung heroes in our communities alongside doctors, nurses, truck drivers, retail clerks, first responders and others,” said Denzler.

People can submit nominations starting Jan. 27 through Feb. 14.

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