Final Take

Digging for fun
While building his home three years ago, Ed Mumm decided to take on some of the work himself. He rented equipment and started working – and then realized he was having a great time doing it. “I thought, if I’m having this much fun, imagine how much other people would like it,” Mumm says. And so Dig This was born. The first heavy construction equipment playground in the United States, Dig This has just celebrated its first anniversary.

Mumm is the first to admit that some people thought he was crazy – including insurance companies. “I had a hell of a time getting insurance,” he says. “A lot of them loved the idea; they just didn’t want to insure it.” Mumm wasn’t deterred. He eventually obtained insurance and developed Dig This on 10 acres just west of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. His equipment now includes two Caterpillar D5 dozers, two Cat 315 excavators and a couple of skid steers, and he plans to add dump trucks and wheel loaders to the lineup.

The program is simple: clients can purchase a variety of activities, ranging from $200 to $750, depending on the time and machine operated. They’ll spend some time with an instructor who familiarizes them with the machine and with safety issues, and then start moving dirt.
Mumm says his clients – half of whom are women – love it. “People are usually not quite sure what they are about to get into, but after about 20 minutes, they have a smile from ear to ear,” he says.

Dig This is also expanding – a site in the Las Vegas area will be up and running by June. For more information on Dig This, visit
– Amy Materson

Retro restoration
After years of misuse, Dale Blevins, retired owner of an asphalt business based in Mount Vernon, Missouri, decided to revamp his 1942 Autocar, nicknamed after Jimmy Dean and Roy Acuff’s song, “Big Bad John.” Peterbilt of Joplin restored the truck, salvaging what few Autocar parts they could find. They used a 2003 Peterbilt chassis, a 400-horsepower Cat C12 engine with a 6-speed automatic Allison transmission and gave it a glistening white custom paint job. For more on this story, check out the Spring 2009 issue of Custom Rigs;

– Barbara Cox