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Kelly Tractor Hosts Cat Operator Challenge at Ft. Myers, Fla., Branch

Thu April 14, 2022 - Southeast Edition #8

Kelly Tractor kicked off its series of 2022 Cat Global Operator Challenges at its Ft. Myers, Fla., branch on April 9.

A large turnout of contestants and their families came out to see some of the best operators in the area compete for an opportunity to take one of the top spots, compete against other Kelly Tractor top contestants at upcoming challenge events, move on to regional finals and potentially advance to the Global Operator Challenge Finals at ConExpo-Con/AGG 2023 in Las Vegas where Caterpillar will crown one operator as World Champion.

This is the first of three competitions that will be held by Kelly Tractor; the next challenge will be held on April 30 in Ft. Pierce, Fla., and the final challenge will be held at the company's headquarters in Miami, Fla., on May 21.

The top three contestants at the Ft. Myers Operator Challenge were: John Gomez, LJ Clark Construction Inc; Dylan Reed, Quality Enterprises USA Inc; and Chris Dietrich, Chris Inc.

Jamie Hoffman, one of Kelly Tractor's certified dealer instructors explained the overall layout of the course.

"We have five challenges — a dozer, an excavator, a loader, a compact track loader and a mini excavator competition. We needed to design each challenge to make it as tough as possible for each contestant because we are looking for the absolute best operator to represent south Florida in the North Carolina regional finals."

To ensure the upcoming challenges have the same degree of difficulty as the Ft. Myers event, every possible detail of the overall course is measured and mapped out and will be duplicated at the Ft. Pierce and Miami course locations.

"This could not have been done without the team we had helping. These challenge events are not a one or two person show. From marketing to our demo instructors to the company owners, this is a full Kelly Tractor team effort and I appreciate every one of them," Hoffman said. CEG

(All photographs in this article are Copyright 2022 Construction Equipment Guide. All Rights Reserved.)

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John Gomez of LJ Clark Construction, Moore Haven, Fla., and his three-year-old son Caleb got a little father-son time playing in the sand in Ft. Myers.
Plenty of kids came out with their families to see the challenge events, with some of the future operators taking the opportunity to get some “stick time” themselves.
On the Load and Go challenge, Leonel Lopez of Quality Enterprises USA, Naples, Fla., uses a Cat 950M wheel loader to load up a Cat 725 articulated truck.
Kelly Tractor’s Olivier Duchatellier (L) and Jamie Hoffman discuss the course layout before the contestants arrive.
Brian Martinez of LJ Clark Construction operates a Cat D3 in the “Precision Tracktor” dozer challenge.
Mike Hinz of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, based in Clewiston, Fla., operates a Cat 326 excavator with Grade Control to makes a run at the excavator challenge as Archie Justiniano (R) of SITECH waits to check the grade of the final dig.
Chris Dietrich of Chris Inc., Ft. Myers, Fla., had a great run in the compact track loader challenge, which helped to lead him to one of the top three spots in overall scoring.
Making a run at the min-excavator challenge is Kole Truckenmiller of Woods & Wetlands Inc., North Ft. Myers, Fla.
Static displays of products available from Kelly Tractor were scattered around the course.
A catered barbeque lunch was served.

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