Can a backhoe be used to place eggs in a bowl? That’s one of the challenges at the Weber County Fair, where in the second year of the backhoe rodeo contestants try their hand at a lot of things you wouldn’t ordinarily expect a backhoe operator to tackle.
“In front of supporters numbering in the low hundreds at the fair’s 2nd annual Backhoe Rodeo, 28 competitors nimbly manipulated various tractors to gently ease three eggs into a small bowl, three bowling pins into narrow canisters and one each of a basketball, soccer and tennis ball into a garbage can. The machines may not be as fickle as a discontented bull — but mastering them takes years, said Dean Maw, manager of Maw Equipment and the sponsor co-hosting the event with Weber County.” – Ben Lockhart, Standard-Examiner Staff
“It takes a lot of getting used to a lot of seat time,” said Nathan Skeen, from North Ogden, who has been riding the machinery for 15 years. “Everybody can kind of run one everybody can get on and kind of play with it, but it takes a know-how to know where to move the dirt or kind of what to do with it to get the job done.”
According to the article, Justin Anderson, from rural Weber County west of Ogden, took home the first prize of $300 and an embroidered jacket. Second place gets $200, and third place gets $100. Not everybody can maneuver this piece of heavy equipment to get such detailed jobs done, but it sure is impressive to watch them do it.
Backhoes are one of the most versatile pieces of heavy equipment, and those who have been trained to operate them continue to develop skills worthy of a rodeo just by being on the job, in the seat, doing what they are paid to do. If you are interested in operating a backhoe as a skilled professional, ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School is a good place to start.