After 21 weeks of reviewing entries from Bobcat compact equipment enthusiasts, Bobcat Company officials selected a grand prize winner, five second-place winners and 10 third-place winners in the “How Bobcat Unleashed Me” contest.
The “How Bobcat Unleashed Me” contest asked compact equipment users to share how Bobcat equipment helped them in performing work better, smarter and faster. Equipment users across the continental United States and Canada submitted brief essays and photographs about their experiences with Bobcat equipment.
The grand prize winner is Gregory Stone of Excavation Details, Rock Stream, N.Y. Stone will receive a $75,000 Bobcat gift certificate, good for products or attachments of his choice at a designated Bobcat dealership in North America.
Stone was selected from among many superb entries because of his inspiring story. Formerly a skilled professional with a custom cabinet and millwork company, Stone wanted to make more of his life and had a passion to operate compact equipment for a full-time job. He recognized a niche application in vineyards and developed a process to dig precise draining systems while preventing damage to the vines and valuable soil.
Stone purchased a Bobcat skid-steer loader and backhoe attachment — after some guidance from a Bobcat sales specialist — to install the complex drainage systems in the Finger Lakes region of New York. The compact loader and backhoe attachment proved to be perfect for his niche application.
Today, Stone is a successful contractor with a business that’s expanded into other areas, including landscape contracting. He continues to explore new opportunities through equipment and attachment rentals at Bobcat of the Twin Tiers, located in Elmira, N.Y.
“How many opportunities does a person get in a lifetime to start a truly needed service and have it turn out well? I have gone from despair to a job that is so much fun, and I’m amazed when people give me money for it,” writes Stone in his winning entry. “Have I been unleashed? You betcha! Thank you, Bobcat.”
In addition, five second-place prize winners will receive $1,000 gift certificates, good for Bobcat products or attachments of the winners’ choice at designated Bobcat dealerships in North America. The five second-place winners include the following individuals:
1. Michael Lowes; Lowes’ Landscaping; Cuba, Mo.
Lowes learned the ins and outs of Bobcat compact equipment when he served in the U.S. military in Iraq. He spent hours in the machines and learned just how versatile they can be. When Lowes came home from his tour of duty, he resumed working with his family’s landscaping company. The family recently added a T250 compact track loader to help build retaining walls and complete finish grading tasks.
2. Eric Austin; Austin’s Landscape Construction Inc.; Yorba Linda, Calif.
In 1998, Austin got a taste of compact equipment when he rented a skid-steer loader to help his girlfriend with a landscaping project. That experience stuck with him and eventually Austin left his paralegal desk job to become a landscape contractor in southern California. Today, Austin is the owner of Austin Landscaping, and owns a Bobcat 320 compact excavator, a 453 skid-steer loader and numerous time- and labor-saving attachments.
3. Terry Reed; Four Seasons Construction; Whitehall, Mont.
Reed left behind a grueling job at a gold mine in Montana to pursue a career as a compact equipment owner-operator. He took the experience he gained operating a Bobcat 863 skid-steer loader at the mine and applied that knowledge to a new business endeavor — a 773 loader operator. What started as a part-time job turned into full-time employment and a rewarding new career for Reed.
4. Bob Pedatella; Kodiak Landscape Design, Haskell, N.J.
For nearly 14 years, Pedatella has been operating his successful landscaping company, Kodiak Landscape Design, with year-round applications for his Bobcat equipment. In the spring, summer and fall, Pedatella uses his Bobcat equipment for loading, grading, installing topsoil, cleaning up, installing trees and carrying materials, just to name a few tasks. Once winter arrives, Pedatella puts his Bobcat compact loaders and attachments to use, plowing snow in areas where trucks can’t access, including “tricky driveways and sidewalks.”
5. Ray Benoit Jr.; Eagle 88 Enterprises; Hay River, Northwest Territories, Canada
Ray Benoit Jr. and his family operate Eagle 88 Enterprises in some of the most extreme weather conditions in the Northwest Territories in Canada, where winter temperatures can reach 40 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. The family operates several Bobcat compact loaders and attachments to complete land-clearing tasks, such as road construction for the new Mackenzie Valley pipeline. Benoit says in his entry that he can drive all day without seeing any other people. There’s no cellular phone service, no radio and a wide assortment of weather conditions. The family’s motto — “No Time for Down Time” — shows just how much they depend on reliable Bobcat compact machines and attachments for continued success.
Ten third-place prize winners will receive an authentic Bobcat jacket. The ten third-place
Robert Ott; C&C Excavating LLC; La Crescent, Minn.
Joe Emigh; Utica, Pa.
Otto Trebing; Tanglewood-Destiny; Roopville, Ga.
Dennis Goecke II; Tipp City, Ohio
Josh Ginther; Ginther Farms; Abingdon, Ill.
Jethro Montgomery; Turf Concepts LLC; Elida, Ohio
Marvyn Pickering; Porcupine Plain; Saskatchewan, Canada
Devin Scheel; Firm CRS; Draper, Utah
Marion Perret; Trans-Speed International; Jefferson, La.
Richard Meffert; Raeford, N.C.