Congratulations to the 2023 Cat® Simulators Student Showdown champions – Advanced Dozer Champion Cooper Sunday and Advanced Construction Excavator Champion Landon Scott!
In September, Cat Simulators invited students across the U.S. to compete in the 2023 Cat Simulators Student Showdown. From November 1 to December 8, students enrolled in heavy equipment operator (HEO) programs competed virtually on either the school/college’s Advanced Construction Excavator or Advanced Dozer Cat Simulators systems.
Advanced Dozer Champion
Cooper Sunday, Cobb Innovation and Technology Academy
Cooper Sunday, a sophomore at Cobb Innovation and Technology Academy in Marietta, Ga., was confident about completing the tasks except for the third and final task – dozing the word “CAT.”
“I was pressuring myself to do the tasks the best I could,” explained Sunday, who feels the simulator helped prepare him to operate a real dozer during the course’s final field exam. “It’s the most wonderful piece of technology I’ve seen in my life.”
Cobb Innovation and Technology Academy’s HEO instructor, Brent Manning, explained he registered students who were interested in competing and wanted to continue improving their skills on the simulators. “My students get like a lot of seat time which is definitely beneficial. So, I told Cooper not to stress out about it and to just keep doing what he had been doing on the simulator,” said Manning.
Advanced Construction Excavator Champion
Landon Scott, Jones County High School
Landon Scott, a sophomore from Jones County High School in Gray, Ga., has learned a lot about excavators and how to operate them in the school’s HEO program. Now that he’s been practicing on the school’s Advanced Construction Excavator Cat Simulator every day, completing the competition’s tasks was fun. “It’s pretty easy and really fun once you know what you’re doing,” said Scott.
Jones County High School’s Construction/Heavy Equipment Instructor, Michael Denaro, explained that the students supported each other during the Student Showdown. “When they were practicing for the Showdown, they would encourage each other,” said Denaro. “They would tell each other how they could do a task better or how they could accomplish it better.”
“The students found the smiley face task to be the most challenging, but they enjoyed making the smiley face once they figured out what they needed to do,” explained Denaro. “They practiced to make them look as good as possible and had fun doing it.”
How Were the Champions Determined?
Contestants had to complete three tasks on either the Cat Simulators Advanced Dozer or Advanced Construction Excavator systems. The Cat Simulators team created a final challenge for each model that required contestants to use their operating skills and creativity while having fun!
Advanced Dozer Tasks
TASK #1 – CAN YOU CRAFT A BUILDING PAD EFFICIENTLY?
Before structures can go up on a jobsite, a building pad must be made. And since time is money on a jobsite, contestants were judged on how efficiently and quickly they could craft a pad to meet a required grade in the Pad Building exercise.
TASK #2 – TIME TO TAKE DOWN SOME TREES!
Sometimes before a highway project can be started, land must be cleared. Contestants were judged on how quickly but safely they could doze down all the trees in the Site Clearance exercise.
TASK #3 – CAN YOU SPELL CAT…WITH A DOZER?
The third and final task required Dozer contestants to “write” the word “CAT” with the Dozer blade, not the ripper (that would have been too easy 😊). They were judged on how clearly and quickly they could do it.
Advanced Construction Excavator Tasks
Task #1 – LET ME PICK THAT UP AND MOVE IT FOR YOU…CAREFULLY!
It takes a fine touch and an extra eye on safety to hoist objects into the air and move them without colliding into other objects. That’s why contestants were judged on their ability to pick up and move the pipe segment quickly and safely in the Maneuver Hoisted Objects exercise.
TASK #2 – IS YOUR BUCKET HALF FULL OR HALF EMPTY?
Excavator operators often need to remove material from a site to prepare the site for building. Contestants had to complete the Bench Loading exercise and were judged on filling their buckets and emptying them while on the bench into trucks quickly, efficiently and safely.
TASK #3 – READY. SET. SMILE! 😊
Is it possible to “draw” a smiley face with an excavator? You bet it is! Contestants had to tram to the top of the bench then use the bucket to dig a smiley face that included eyes, a smile and a circle around it.
2023 Cat Simulators Student Showdown Prizes
Each champion and their school/college received the following prize packages for a job well done.
INDIVIDUAL CHAMPIONS ($1,000 value)
- Cat® Scale Model
- $500 Amazon Gift Card
- Cat Hi-Vis Sweatshirt
- Cat Waterproof 360° Speaker
- Cat Safety Glasses
- Cat Safety Work Gloves
- And more!
CHAMPIONS’ SCHOOL/COLLEGE ($7,000 value)
- 2-year SimScholars Subscription or 2-year Extension (if already subscribed)
- 6-hour Virtual Training Session
- Cat Simulators Lighted Sign
- Printed Cat Simulators Safety Posters
- Prize Package for Classroom