Gregory Poole Equipment Company hosted its 2019 Operator Challenge on Aug. 27 to 29 at the Caterpillar Visitor Center in Clayton, N.C.
The three-day event brought out 35 operators from across eastern North Carolina to compete in the four machine challenges. The top three overall winners were:
- Ben Sandy of Sandy's Hauling and Backhoe Service Inc. —total time: 11:42
- Wayne Bryant of Bryant Grading Inc. — total time: 11:48
- Josh Blanton of Roadbuilders Inc. — total time: 12:09
They were given a Cat cooler and Cabela's gift card. The top time for each event also was awarded a plaque with a model of the machine used for that challenge.
The winner of this local event will make his way back to Clayton, N.C. for the North American Eastern Regional Finals Oct. 23-25. The regional winner will represent all of North America at the Global Operator Challenge at ConExpo 2020 in Las Vegas.
Challenge events include:
- Excavator trenching with Cat 2D Grade,
- Small wheel loader load & carry with Cat production measurement,
- Skid steer/CTL operating techniques, and
- Track-type tractor obstacle course.
The Cat 926M wheel loader dumping a load of crushed stone during the competition.
Travis Felts (L) of FMC Grading in Durham, N.C., gets an overview of the Cat 926M wheel loader and the obstacle course challenge from Jared Bauer of Gregory Poole Equipment Company.
An operator from Wilmington, N.C., maneuvering the Cat D5K LGP machine through the obstacle course.
Ray Pippin (L) with Gregory Poole Equipment Company goes over the Cat 259D compact track loader with Mike Rutherford of Evergreen Clearing in Wilmington, N.C.
Looking over the Cat 308 CR excavator are Greg Everson (L) of East Coast Contracting in Wilmington, N.C., and Garrett Poplin of Gregory Poole Equipment Company.
An operator from Raleigh running the Next Generation Cat 320 excavator.
The winner of the 2019 Caterpillar Operator Challenge heads to the regional finals.