Event lets equipment enthusiasts operate like pros

Fans of Caterpillar construction equipment now have the chance to become operators for a day – no experience required.

The “Day in the Dirt” event, to be held Sept. 30 at Cat’s Tinaja Hills Training Center in Tucson, Ariz., will give 50 construction equipment fans with no connection or affiliation with the industry the chance to become operators for a day.

“The closest they get to construction equipment is during their drive to work,” said Jason Diamond, a designer for Classic Construction Models, which is co-sponsoring the event with Cat’s Trademark Merchandise Licensing group.

Participants will view full product line demonstrations of the latest Caterpillar equipment before operating machines under the supervision of a “Top Gun” trainer and operators.

“From my experience, they’re really good at individual attention,” Diamond said. In working with CCM, which produces scale representations of Cat equipment, he was able to visit the training facility and operate life-size versions of the products he helps design.

Diamond said operating many of the machines was akin to playing a video game. In fact, his supervisor asked him if he had “grown up on Nintendo” He had. Other participants were given more instruction.

Participation in the Day in the Dirt event costs $685, which includes two nights lodging (single room) at the Clarion Hotel Tucson with shuttle service to and from the airport. Also in the package are a reception, breakfast, lunch and dinner on Friday, breakfast on Saturday and transportation to and from the training center.

Of the 50 participant slots allocated for the event, CCM customers have already filled 25.

And if CCM customer purchases are any indication, there will be a line for the dozers. They are the most demanded models.

“[This event] gives our customer base a chance to be around the equipment they like,” Diamond said.

Patrick Beeson can be contacted at pbeeson@randallpub.com.