Altorfer Cat kicks off Caterpillar’s 2022-2023 Global Operator Challenge
By Adam FreillConstruction Equipment
Klocke Inc.’s Kent Richmond advances to regional semifinals in North Carolina, the next step on a possible path to becoming world champion.
On a cold, drizzly day in March, 25 equipment operators from Iowa, Illinois and Missouri converged on Edwards, Ill., to compete in the first dealer event of the second Caterpillar Global Operator Challenge.
Organized by Altorfer Cat of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the day-long contest challenged the skills of all operators with various trials using the latest Cat excavators, loaders, dozers and backhoe loaders.
“It was definitely challenging,” said Brandon Chandler of Chandler Concrete & Excavating. “We had a lot of good operators here.”
Beyond the contest, Caterpillar’s Global Operator Challenge seeks to bring awareness to opportunities available for people interested in the industry.
“We are highlighting the skilled trades industry and giving operators an avenue to showcase their skills and talents,” explained Jason Hurdis, global market professional for Caterpillar. Referencing the competition, he added, “Caterpillar isn’t looking for the best wheel loader or backhoe loader operator. We are looking for the best overall operator, one who can get in any machine and apply their basic skills and talents to perform on any machine platform for any given task.”
The Altorfer Cat challenge, held inside Caterpillar’s Edwards facility, included four different timed challenges using six separate pieces of Cat equipment.
“We included the Cat 317 excavator and 982 XE loader, both equipped with Cat Payload, as well as a Next Gen D5 dozer with Cat grade control,” said Trevor Shanahan, general sales manager south for Altorfer Cat. Operators had to quickly maneuvere through various obstacles with total combined time, including penalties, being the determining factor to decide a winner.
After the dust settled and final times were calculated, Kent Richmond, project manager for Klocke Inc., was crowned the Altorfer Cat dealer champion with an overall time of 2,115 seconds. He, along with 34 other dealer champions from throughout Canada and the U.S., will travel to North Carolina in October for the North American regional semifinals, and then possibly onto the Global Operator Challenge finals at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023 in Las Vegas, where Caterpillar will crown one operator world champion, a title currently held by Canada’s Jaus Neigum.
To make the 2022-2023 Global Operator Challenge more competitive and robust, Caterpillar has set a minimum threshold for dealer competitions of at least three different challenges and three separate pieces of equipment.
To learn more about the Global Operator Challenge, including how to find an event near you, visit www.cat.com/operatorchallenge.