by Jon M. Casey
Competition was stiff at this year’s Hard Hat Expo Skid Steer Rodeo where 42 contestants took their turn navigating a randomly selected skid steer loader through a three obstacle course to determine the fastest time as the winner. With the changes in this year’s format, the competitors found that the new style of competition to their liking, with the top ten finishers’ times within two minutes of one another. Times between the top three finishers were only 11.4 and 31.2 seconds respectively. Everyone had a safe and enjoyable time.
The new format required contestants to draw one of four labeled tennis balls blindly from a bucket, to determine which of the four skid steer loaders they would operate for the competition. Official timer for this year’s event was Josh Maring with Jim Kring, event designer and JoAnn Townsend show staff assistant working together to help make the event a success. Competitors were invited to sign up for the event as they arrived at the show and compete between 9:00 am and noon on Wednesday. Prizes were awarded later in the day.
Skid Steer Loaders were sponsored this year by: Tracey Road Equipment – New Holland; Five Star Equipment Company – John Deere; Bobcat Company – Bobcat; and ADMAR – GEHL.
Each of the first 25 contestants received a $20.00 participation prize along with the chance to win additional monetary prizes and trophies. The top four finishers received monetary prizes along with a trophy or plaque. The remaining six finishers each received an engraved plaque that noted their respective finishing place. ADMAR sponsored the trophies with McCarthy Tire Service and Hard Hat News sponsoring the monetary prizes.
Top ten finishers in the 2016 Hard Hat Expo Skid Steer Rodeo included: Larry Burrows, First Place $200 cash prize and trophy; Jay Newswanger, Second Place $150 cash prize and trophy; Emory Martin, Third Place $100 cash prize and trophy; and Steven Humphreyville, Fourth Place $50 cash prize with plaque. Fifth through tenth-place winners included Brandon Garman, Calvin Martin, Jeremiah Lewis, Carl Demuth, Paddrick Hicks and Paul Zimmerman, respectively.