Briggs Construction Equipment kicked off its Case Rodeo Series April 13 in Mobile, Ala.
The sun gleamed off the shiny black 50th Anniversary Case backhoe that was displayed for spectators. Not a cloud was in sight as the spectators’ children jumped in the moon bounce. The crowd enjoyed live music, barbecue and equipment demonstrations by Paladin Light Construction Attachments, Esco, Wacker, McGriff Tire and Eager Beaver Trailers.
Briggs’ sister company, Briggs Industrial Equipment, also displayed a Yale forklift and gave away an HD television. Other door prizes from local businesses included gift certificates for golf and dinner.
More than 40 equipment operators participated in the Mobile event. The rodeo involved operating a Case loader/backhoe to victory in an event that pits the area’s most talented heavy equipment operators against each other in three events.
Dustin Asher of Memphis, Tenn., drove more than 400 miles to participate in the Briggs Rodeo.
“My father and I have operated Case backhoes for as long as I can remember. I knew I couldn’t miss this event,” Asher said. With his wife and four children cheering him on, he competed and held a position in the top five for several hours. The competition heated up toward the latter part of the day and the final competitors changed the entire leader board.
Briggs also held a “Celebrity Rodeo,” in which local celebrities tried their hand at operating a Case mini-excavator. The object of the game was to pick up a soccer ball with the bucket and place it in a basket.
Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran, state Sen. Ben Brooks, Channel 15 NBC Reporter Darwin Singleton, Channel 10 Fox’s Meteorologist Jason Smith and Reporter Chastity Byrd competed in the event. The group exchanged banter as they took turns operating. Byrd won the event with her patient operating technique. To reward her for her skills, Briggs donated $250 to the Children’s Miracle Network for Children’s & Women’s Hospital on her behalf.
The winners were: 1st place, Dennis Drew Jr. of John Kuck; 2nd place, Tommy Long of A-Long Boring Inc.; 3rd place, Eddie McIlwain of McIlwain Construction Inc.; 4th place, Erick Hodges of Mobile County Water; 5th place, Ray Jones of the Terminal Railway of Alabama.
Hundreds of spectators and more than 40 operators were in attendance at Briggs’ second rodeo and grand opening at the Myrtle Beach location April 21. All in attendance enjoyed Radd-Dew barbecue, children’s activities and prizes. Manufacturers’ reps displayed equipment by NPK, Paladin, Esco, Wacker, Toro and many others.
Beauty pageant queen, Miss Hartsville, S.C., Katie Morris and her sister, Meg Maddux, emceed the event and also competed in the Celebrity Rodeo. Morris operated the controls like a pro, swooping up the soccer ball and placing it gently in the basket. Briggs will donate $250 to the Children’s Miracle Network on Morris’ behalf.
Michael Murphy was the last operator to enter the competition just after 4 p.m. He and his wife arrived just as the competition was winding down. They were in desperate need of the money because she was suffering from a brain condition. In the final event, Michael sat in the cab, took a deep breath and nearly leapt to the controls and finished up in a record 1 minute, 15 seconds.
Unfortunately, he made a penalty by dropping one of the balls. He placed second and took home a much needed $300.
The Myrtle Beach Rodeo winners were: 1st place, Clay Lee of Groundwork S.C. Inc.; 2nd place, Michael Murphy of SCDOT; 3rd place Robert Stone of City of Myrtle Beach; 4th place, Tim Fowler also of SCDOT; 5th place, Dale Fox of ELI Inc.
The first place winners were awarded with a 1/16th scale 50th anniversary model of the Case black backhoe, a champions jacket, a $500 Visa gift card and a trip for two to Las Vegas in 2008 to compete in the Case North American Championship Event for a grand prize Case loader/backhoe valued at nearly $120,000. The remaining top five received gift cards ranging from $300 to $100.
Briggs partnered with the local chapters of Habitat for Humanity in both Mobile and Horry County by donating $1,000 to each chapter. The events were two of a series of 10 rodeo events throughout the Southeast to be hosted by Briggs.