Contractors attend seminars, ride-and-drive demos in Arizona

A range of vocational truck operators recently took a first-hand look at the newest Kenworth trucks during “Rock N’ Dirt,” a hands-on program at Caterpillar’s Tinaja Hills proving grounds near Tucson, Ariz.

The annual event attracted more than 100 customers and combines fact-filled seminars with ride-and-drive demonstrations where vocational truck operators can get behind the wheel.

“It’s another opportunity for us to listen to vocational operators about the specs that matter the most in their jobs,” said Brian Lindgren, Kenworth’s market segment manager for vocational and off-highway trucks.

Thirteen Kenworth trucks, all powered by Cat engines, were featured in the demonstrations and customer ride and drives. They included two T800 heavy haulers; two T800s with Super-18 dump, including one with a Caterpillar “bridge” engine; a T800 flatbed hauler; two W900S bridge mixers, including one with a Caterpillar bridge engine; a W900L dump tractor; a T800 transfer dump; a 953 Super; T300 6×4 and 4×2 dumps; and T300 lube truck.

Fred Huntsman, owner of Huntsman Trucking of Galion, Ohio, picked up plenty of ideas for when he buys his next Kenworth trucks. “Next time, I’ll be looking at automatic transmissions,” he said. “They would be easier for the drivers instead of remembering which gears to use in certain situations on the job and easier on the trucks because you wouldn’t have to make clutch adjustments.”

A curiosity about the new lower-emissions engines attracted Bob Jaspersen, owner of Jaspersen Enterprises of Minnetonka, Minn. “I looked at the T800 dump truck and I talked with a couple of other truck operators there who said the performance of the new C-12 in them has not declined,” he said.

In addition to Caterpillar, other participating suppliers for the event included Alcoa, Allison, Bendix, Bridgestone, Chalmers, Dana, DuPont, Eaton, Hendrickson, and Watson & Chalin.