Let’s roll out Case’s Rodeo

Over two days in October Case Construction Equipment held its 2017 Rodeo International Final. This annual event tests the skills of the world’s best construction machinery operators in a series of competitive challenges.

LAWLESS LOADER CASE TV380

LAWLESS LOADER CASE TV380

Case‘s Rodeo is a well-established annual event but I think that the construction equipment industry as a whole should use it as the basis for a much larger event, for reasons I’ll explain in a moment.

The 2017 Case Rodeo International Final brought together the top finishers from national competitions across Europe, the Middle East and Africa at the Case Customer Centre Paris in Monthyon. Contestants were given tasks with a compact track loader, a crawler excavator, a mini excavator, and a full-size wheeled loader. All four elements were run against the clock, with time penalties imposed for failure to meet specific task requirements.

The first of the challenges, “Lawless Loader”, required competitors to drive a TV380 compact track loader along a defined path, pick-up three numbered boxes from pallets one-at-a-time, use the boxes to build a pyramid, then return all boxes to their original positions and reverse the compact loader to its garage. This challenge was won by Tomas Sooky of the Czech Republic.

In the next challenge, “Cherokee Crawler”, contestants had to use a CX145D SR crawler excavator located in a fixed position, with a weight hanging from the bucket at the end of the dipper arm, to inscribe the word ‘Case’ on a table without causing the table to move. This precision test was won by Danny Walsh of the UK.

CHEROKEE CRAWLER CASE CX145D

CHEROKEE CRAWLER CASE CX145D

In “Little Bighorn”, competitors had to control a CX60C mini excavator to pick up golf balls from a sand pit using a bucket attachment, then deliver each ball to a specific tube in a particular sequence. This was won by Tommy Brus Pedersen of Denmark.

The fourth and final competition, “Wild Wheels”, involved driving a 621G XT wheeled loader along a defined path and then back to its starting place while carrying four cubes placed on a board on top of the bucket. The challenge was to get there and back without causing the cubes to move out of position. Tommy Brus Pedersen won this event as well.

The winning country team was Sweden, followed by the UK, Netherlands, Denmark, and then Germany.

The overall individual winner was Bendt Risom from Denmark, whose prize was a trip for two to China, with a sightseeing programme in Shanghai and Yunnan and a visit to Case China. Well done, Bendt. (That’s him, below)

Bendt Risom at Case's Rodeo

Bendt Risom at Case’s Rodeo

Case’s Rodeo is clearly both fun and serious – for Case it is an opportunity to promote the brand and demonstrate the capability of its machines. And it is good to recognise the craft of the professional operators. I think there is merit in rolling out Case’s initiative much further, pitting not just operator against operator but manufacturer against manufacturer, much as the Formula  One motor racing series has drivers and constructors pitted against one another.

Each year Case finds its champion; now let’s see them pitted against the best that Cat, Komatsu, Sany, JCB and all the others have to offer. Speed could be one element of the contest – not just travel speed of the machine but speed of hydraulic tools, but also agility. The machines would be on trial as well as the operators.

I am sure there is commercial potential in this – monster truck events attract crowds in their thousands. However, although I believe that the spectacle of seeing construction machines – excavators, loaders and cranes – being misused and smashed up might attract bigger crowds than an event such as the Case Rodeo, where they are used responsibly, I could not support a smash-bang show for construction machines. The role model should be Formula One – people generally watch a grand prix to see the best drivers in the best cars, not to see crashes. A construction machinery grand prix should similarly prioritise excellence over spectacle, and not be just a circus. Tricks that would be considered dangerous or inappropriate for the construction site would have no place in the contest I envisage. In this regard, the tasks of Case’s Rodeo present a responsible and appropriate template, although a little bit of razzmatazz could help sell tickets.

Such a competition would surely help to drive leading edge innovation among manufacturers, just as Honda, Mercedes and the rest benefit from investment in Formula One. More importantly, it would help professionalise the job of the machinery operator, promoting it to children as an attractive career path, where dedication, responsibility and continuous development of skills can be recognised and rewarded.

Steve Rhine

About Steve Rhine

Community Manager at MachineryZone USA - All latest construction news on MachineryZone Mag!