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N.Y. Operator Proves He’s No Ordinary Caterpillar Fan

Wed May 23, 2012 - Northeast Edition
CEG


Kevin Skinner built a garage with a room over it to store and display his collection of Cat-related items.
Kevin Skinner built a garage with a room over it to store and display his collection of Cat-related items.
Kevin Skinner built a garage with a room over it to store and display his collection of Cat-related items. There are Cat posters covering the walls, bookshelves with Cat literature, Cat hats and Cat jackets hanging from hooks, and of course, an impressive array of Cat models. As you head up the stairs, you begin to get a feel for what’s in store...but nothing can really prepare you for what you are about to experience. Skinner has a collection of more than 60 Cat hats. Here they are on a display that Skinner built modeled after a dozer blade. Skinner is often asked to build customized dioramas; here he stands in front of his latest one. When it’s finished, it will be displayed in the lobby of Abscope Environmental, a local company in the construction field. Skinner’s wife Julie said that “she knew what she was getting into when she married Kevin.” Here they are pictured with their young son Brandon.

When Kevin Skinner of Canastota, N.Y., said he’s a Cat fan, he doesn’t just mean he prefers operating Cat equipment — Kevin actually has a Cat room in his house. And we’re not talking about a walk-in closet, an out-of-the-way basement or a corner in the garage. This is a very large, well-lit and perfectly organized room, painted Cat yellow of course, dedicated exclusively to Cat paraphernalia.

There are Cat posters covering the walls, bookshelves with Cat literature, Cat hats and Cat jackets hanging from hooks, and of course, an impressive array of Cat models.

“My family knows what to give me for Christmas!”

It’s in that room, sitting in an operator’s seat from an old Milton Cat excavator, that Kevin watches Cat videos, reads Cat literature, studies Cat brochures, researches Cat equipment models and plans his next Cat diorama.

Skinner is a well-known diorama designer and builder. His scenes are amazingly realistic — Cat earthmoving equipment, buildings, signs, trees, job sites complete with sand and rocks and operators wearing Cat hard hats…you could spend hours studying one of his creations and you’d always find a new feature you hadn’t seen before and shake your head in disbelief at the detail.

In real life, Skinner is a truck and equipment operator at the East Syracuse Hanson Aggregates operation. His love for Cat equipment isn’t confined to his garage, and he even confesses that when traffic is stopped because there’s construction on the road, “while everyone else in the car gets upset at the delay, I love the chance to go slowly and be able to check the machine models, I just love it.”

He’s also a husband, a lucky one some would say, whose wife understands his passion and shrugs it off with “I knew what I was getting into when we married.”

Now the Skinners have a baby boy and guess what color a lot of his clothes are? You got it — yellow and black.

For more information, call 315/278-2820 or visit catman429@hotmail.com.

This article previously appeared on Milton CAT’s Web site www.miltoncat.com.