A heavy equipment veteran of 15 years, Bauman was signed up for the Western States Rodeo by his CAT salesman. Though he doesn’t use heavy equipment as frequently as some of the other finalists, Bauman proved his expertise as an operator and walked away with nearly $60,000 in prizes including a 2011 Ford F-250 Super Duty pickup truck, a Knapheide truck box, a DDS300 Spectra / Trimble dual slope laser, a DeWalt 9-piece toolkit and miter saw and a trip for two to the 10th round of the National Rodeo Finals. Pipe of Washington, Bauman’s sponsoring company, will be awarded nearly $30,000 in prizes including a 2011 Cat 226B3 skid steer and a $6,500 credit toward a Spectra / Trimble grade control system – totaling nearly $100,000 in prizes. A total of $150,000 in prizes were awarded to contestants throughout the rodeo series.

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 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. An estimated crowd of more than 250 was on hand at the finals on Saturday, which were held next to the College of Western Idaho campus in Nampa, Idaho.

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, who 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. After the four initial events, the leaders of each included:

• Cat 420 Backhoe Challenge: Cory Siderius, Siderius Construction (Kalispell, Montana): 1:00.84

• Cat 320 Excavator Challenge: Joe Street, Frontier Site and Stone (Missoula, Montana): 2:00.00

• Cat 299 CLT Challenge: Tyler Crofts, McAlvain Construction (Boise, Idaho): 1:14.89

• Cat 950 Wheel Loader Challenge: Tyler Crofts, McAlvain Construction (Boise, Idaho): 2:00.84

• Cat 160 Motorgrader Challenge: Cwentin Clifton, Pipe of Washington Contracting (Pasco, Washington): 2:59.30

After dominating half of the initial contests, Crofts held a comfortable lead until the final Cat 160 Motorgrader Challenge. Every participant witnessed a demonstration of the contest by Western States personnel but weren’t allowed to watch other finalists during the competition. The final event started with the 12th place finalist and continued in reverse order, making the final turn by Crofts critical in determining the overall rodeo winner.

Each participant had the opportunity to re-ride the event, and Bauman separated himself through his overall consistency and his second try at the motorgrader event. Bauman also won without his strongest event, the Ford Truck and Trailer challenge, which he won a record four times throughout the rodeo series.

As part of its commitment to giving back to the communities where its employees live and serve customers,Western States Cathas donated more than $7,000 to local charities at every rodeo location throughout the series. end_mark

—From Western States Equipment Company news release

Western States Rodeo Winner Stephen Bauman and Runner-ups
Photo courtesy of Western States Equipment.