Aussie wins Caterpillar Global Operator Challenge
By Adam FreillConstruction Equipment Equipment Technology
Australia's Patrick Doheny won Caterpillar's final competition, held during CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023 in Las Vegas.
In an event that attracted more than 5,500 machine operators worldwide, and included events in Canada, Australian Patrick Doheny emerged as the Caterpillar Global Operator Challenge “World Champion.” The main event finals took place at Cat Operator Stadium during the CONEXPO-CON/AGG show, which was held earlier this month in Las Vegas.
Caterpillar’s year-long Global Operator Challenge is one of the largest construction industry events, with operators from nearly three dozen countries participating. The challenge highlights the amazing ways construction machine operators masterfully guide Cat machines and use the latest technologies to get the job done.
“Caterpillar created this competition to celebrate machine operators who build our world, advocate and drive awareness for their trade, and highlight solutions that address jobsite challenges,” said Jason Hurdis, Caterpillar Global Operator Challenge execution lead and global market professional. “All of the competitors – and especially our nine finalists – showed tremendous skills and abilities operating the latest Cat construction machines and technologies, maneuvering through some difficult challenges and showing the world the invaluable role they play in infrastructure creation.”
The challenge kicked off in the spring of 2022 with more than 10,000 operators worldwide signing up to compete. After a pre-qualification phase, the first round featured 5,500 contestants competing in local events organized by 77 Cat dealers in 32 countries. Competition events included digging a trench, loading a precise amount of dirt, and hauling or maneuvering the machines through obstacles.
Finalists in Las Vegas were grouped into teams of three: Team Americas, Team Europe, and Team Asia, with the nine finalists competing both individually and as teams.
The finals kicked off with the “Fork ‘n Loader” challenge, where each operator used the Cat 950 wheel loader with payload technology to load and move material through specified locations on the course. The “Backhoe Services” challenge had operators using both ends of the Cat 420 XE backhoe to open a small box and precisely place small objects inside. This challenge was designed by Canadian Jaus Neigum, the 2020 Caterpillar Global Operator Challenge World Champion. During the final “Trench Run” challenge, operators showed off their trenching skills using a Cat 315 excavator equipped with grade technology.
Final scores were based on the operator’s skills, efficiency, and competence, with penalties imposed for errors. Awards were given to the overall event champion, the individual with the lowest time in each skills challenge, and the team with the lowest combined score.
As champion, Caterpillar awarded Doheny with a trip for two to a location where Caterpillar has one of its worldwide production facilities.
“I am beyond thrilled to have earned the title of the best Caterpillar machine operator on the planet,” Doheny said. “Kudos to Caterpillar for hosting such an incredible event to highlight the importance of our profession. It is truly a dream come true to see your life’s passion be rewarded in such an amazing way.”
In second place was Matt Ferris from the United States, and third place was awarded to Łukasz Mokrzyński from Poland.