Nearly 12,000 adults and kids were on hand to experience an opportunity to Meet the Machines at Budrovich Excavating & Contracting headquarters on April 26.
The fourth annual event, co-hosted by Fabick CAT, welcomed a record number of approximately 4,500 kids ranging in age from 3 to 16.
The event was held at Budrovich’s headquarters, which is in an old quarry in south St. Louis County.
The day began at 10 a.m. and 1,500 hard hats were distributed by 10:45 a.m. Each child also received an event site map, developed by Bax Engineering, as well as a goodie bag upon entry to the event.
Attendees were able to visit many different themed stations involving some aspect of construction or just all around fun. Visitors first experienced one of the largest quarry trucks, a 773 Cat off-highway truck. Other stations included “Rock City” where the young constructors were able to play Guitar Hero and Wii games.
Additionally, visitors could decorate hard hats at “Sticker City,” hosted by the Magic House. Multitudes of equipment were in “The Boneyard” for the young constructors to climb into the seat and imagine themselves working on a construction site.
Children 3 to 5 years old had a chance to “dig for gold” in a giant sandbox while sitting on Cat kids diggers.
“Cosmic Bowling” allowed children to operate a mini excavator in order to knock over fluorescent colored bowling pins.
At the “Picture This!” station kids enjoyed an opportunity to have their photo taken in a Cat mini excavator or get their photo taken with Izzy the Grizzlie from the Gateway Grizzlies.
The highlight of the day for many kids was the “Bucket Bullseye” area where they had the opportunity to ride in a 90-ft. (27 m) JLG personnel-lift and try to win a Wii by dropping a Nerf football into a bullseye the size of a 5-gal. (18 L) bucket.
Children could enter trivia contests, view the Cat top fuel dragster and Manitowoc OCC chopper, autograph a dozer blade painted in a “Pirates of the Caribbean” theme, climb up to see the cockpit of the largest mobile hydraulic crane in Missouri (a 550-ton Grove GMK 7550 crane), go for a 60-ft. (18 m) ride in a man-basket, operate a Cat motorgrader via the M-Series training simulator, operate a crane in the Manitowoc 2250 crane simulator and much more.
“We started this event four years ago as a way to introduce young kids to the heavy side of the equipment industry mostly as a grassroots campaign with the construction industry,” A.J. Ford, vice president of marketing of Budrovich, said.
“This event has generated more interest and excitement than we ever would have imagined. We have people coming from as far away as Kansas City now to attend the event. We wanted to make year four more exciting and larger than last and with the help of KTRS ’The Big 550’ radio station and all of our vendor partners, I believe we have accomplished it. The St. Louis county police helicopter landing and taking off is always exciting.”
“What a great day for my son [Michael] and my family,” JoAnn Gray-Adams of Granite City, Ill., said. “You can tell that the work put into the event was heartfelt and a team effort.”
Ben, 4, and Luke, 2, Neider confirmed this sentiment: “We had a very fun day. We really liked Cosmic Bowling and thank you for lunch. See you next year, we really love you and ’Meet the Machines.’”
“It is amazing to see the overwhelming interest in construction equipment by children of all ages,” Renee Famula, marketing of Fabick CAT, said. “Fabick CAT is proud to be a part of such an amazing event. The volunteers should also be commended for their tremendous support.”
The Budrovich Companies specialize in site utility excavation, mass and finish grading, crane rental, and residential, commercial and industrial land development. Budrovich employs nearly 150 skilled operators, laborers and teamsters in the St. Louis metropolitan region, utilizing nearly 90 pieces of excavation and grading equipment and 40 mobile hydraulic cranes.
Fabick CAT celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2007. Headquartered in Fenton, Mo., Fabick CAT is the authorized dealer of Caterpillar equipment, prime and stand-by power systems, parts and service, compact construction, and rental equipment for 99 counties in mid and southern Missouri and southern Illinois. Other locations include Cape Girardeau, Columbia, Foristell, Jefferson City, Joplin, Springfield, West Plains, Mo.; Salem, Marion, Metropolis, and Troy, Ill.
For more information, visit www.fabickcat.com.