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Penguins Fan Drives Away With Customized Skid Steer

One lifelong Pens fan gets his Dream Machine.

Mon July 14, 2014 - Northeast Edition
M. Diane McCormick

Dan Winkle is a lifelong Pittsburgh Penguins fan and a season-ticket holder since 1998. But when he ordered a Cat 246D skid steer loader from Cleveland Brothers, he didn’t ask specifically for a Penguins-branded machine. One just happened to be available, and he wasn’t about to turn it down.

“It was the end of the year, and we were trying to buy a unit,” Winkle said. “We decided there was a unit to purchase, and then they said, ’Oh, by the way you won’t be disappointed if it comes with a Penguins decal will you?’ Since I’m a season-ticket holder of the Penguins, I thought that would be cool.”

Winkle owns Bear Run Enterprises, the company he founded with his brother, Tom, “the brains and backbone of the business.” Based in the Pittsburgh suburb of Wexford, the company installs gas lines for Peoples Gas, the natural gas provider serving 700,000 customers in western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky.

Bear Run already had a Cat excavator and dozer, and they returned to Caterpillar when the time came for their first small machine.

“We like the way it’s constructed,” Winkle said. “We liked the rear camera. In comparison to some other machines, we thought it was built pretty well.”

The Penguins decal job is a promotional co-branding that Cleveland Brothers did with its official partner, the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins. For a limited time in 2014, a handful of 246D, 289D and 299D compact track loaders will be available for sale or rental. Customers might get a glimpse of one at trade shows and other events.

Most of Bear Run’s operators are Penguins fans, so they like the Penguins-branded unit, Winkle said. And the unit certainly stands out from the crowd.

“It’s easier to recognize our equipment if it got misplaced,” Winkle said. “It would be easy to identify.”

Winkle appreciates the quality of play that the Penguins have provided for many decades.

“We’ve been fortunate to have the best players in the world on our team for a long time, from Mario Lemieux, up to Evgeni Malkin and Sid Crosby,” he said.

Cleveland Brothers has provided strong service since Bear Run took possession of the unit, also helping with the purchase of a wheel saw to cut rocks and pavement, Winkle said.

“I’ve been happy,” he said. “I think we’ll buy more stuff from them.”

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