A competitor stacks five tires during the Cat Backhoe Challenge in Pocatello, Idaho.
The inaugural Western States Rodeo championship was held Aug. 27 near the College of Western Idaho campus in Nampa. More than 250 spectators watched Stephen Bauman, project manager of Pipe of Washington Inc. win the event.
The championship event was the conclusion of a heavy equipment rodeo tour held throughout the summer at 12 locations across Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington where Western States CAT has a local branch location. The rodeo series kicked off in late May and featured a total of 767 competitors with 3,500 spectators watching the events.
The championship win earned Bauman a 2011 Ford F-250 pickup truck grand prize and the title of best heavy equipment operator in the territories Western States serves. He also won a Cat 226B3 skid steer for his sponsoring company, Pipe of Washington Inc.
During the championship 12 finalists competed for the grand prize in skill-focused contests using a variety of equipment, each with a new twist or substantial change from the regional events to provide additional challenges. A fifth mystery round was not unveiled until the final event which ultimately determined Bauman as the winner, when he overcame a considerable margin held by then front-runner Tyler Crofts of McAlvain Construction.
Finalists were split into groups on random draws for the first four events, which included a Cat 420 backhoe tire-stacking event with more tires, a more complex Cat 299 CLT (compact track loader) obstacle course and Cat 320 excavator and Cat 950 wheel loader challenges with larger equipment and additional elements that involved engaging and disengaging buckets and other fork attachments.
As part of its commitment to giving back to the communities where its employees live and serve customers, Western States CAT has donated more than $7,000 to local charities at every rodeo location throughout the series. Cat, Ford, Carhartt and DeWalt were among the more than twenty industry sponsors that have provided prizes to participants and event attendees.