On a crisp day in Clayton, North Carolina, local Operator Challenge winners from across the country came together for a single purpose—to crush their North American competition.
Kenny Billings, equipment operator at Cypress Gulf, represented Ring Power at the North American Regional Finals on October 24.
Billings, who won the Ring Power Operator Challenge this summer, was accompanied by Ring Power demo operator Blake Conwell during the event. Conwell coached him on a couple events prior to the Regional Finals, getting together at the Tampa branch to practice running some of the Cat Next Gen machines he would be operating in North Carolina.
“I met a lot of nice, world-class operators and made a lot of new friends,” Billings said. “Blake was great. It was a great experience overall. I really enjoyed it.”
Billings admitted that even though they had practiced plenty, the challenges at the regional finals proved to be pretty tough, even for a 38-year veteran operator like himself. But Billings is always up for a challenge.
“They were a little tougher than I expected,” Billings said. “But any Cat equipment out there I can operate.” While Billings had an excellent showing in all events, he ranked 10th overall in the competition.
Events at the regional finals included:
• Trenching Challenge — Operators used a Cat excavator to dig a trench with Grade with 2D Grade technology.
• Fully Loaded Challenge — Operators used a Cat wheel loader with production measurement technology to accurately load a target.
• Easy Doze It Challenge — Operators used a Cat dozer blade and steering while working through a course.
• Control To A Tee Challenge — Operators used a Cat mini excavator to “tee off” a golf ball then navigate a course and place the ball in a hole.
“With the Trenching Challenge, my trench was good and straight, and I was on grade,” Billings said. “The Easy Doze It course was hard, but I had the least penalties on that one. The mini excavator golf tee was very difficult!”
Billings said the event was a great way to indulge in his competitive side. He’s already looking forward to the potential of another Operator Challenge next year.
“I hope they continue to do these,” Billings said. “I’ll be at every one. These Next Gen Cats are awesome.”