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Why were Caterpillar machines picking up basketballs in Las Vegas on Tuesday?


LAS VEGAS (NEXSTAR) — On Tuesday, machinery company Caterpillar named Australian Patrick Doheny the world champion of its 2023 Global Operator Challenge, which began with 5,500 competing operators. For the day’s dirt-filled events, Doheny, along with eight other finalists went toe-to-toe at #CatConExpo — along with some unseasonably cool and damp Las Vegas weather.

As part of the competition, the finalists operated various Caterpillar machines to complete certain tasks inside the company’s 70,000-foot outdoor arena. Some even involved using machinery to get basketballs into hoops!

Patrick Doheny, of Australia, was named world champion at the 2023 Global Operator Challenge (Courtesy of Caterpillar)

This year, Caterpillar says it didn’t tell the finalists what events they’d be performing and in what machines until two days before the final competition.

The final round was a trench run, which involved excavating and removing a buried ball before completing a trench. Trenches needed to be made at least 24 feet deep. Operators were penalized if their excavations were more than a 10th of a foot off.

Third place winner was Łukasz Mokrzyńsk (Poland), who performed the challenge in 32:14. Second place went to Matt Ferris (U.S.), who clocked 27:35.

The other finalists were Pontus Eriksson (Sweden), Nick Thompson (Australia), Sebastian Behr (Germany), Fernando Nascimento (Brazil), Masato Imai (Japan), and John Schiedeck (U.S.). Although there were three overall, top winners, each round also had its own winners. Those were Doheny (first round, hauling), Schiedeck (second round, backhoe) and Mokrzyński (third round, trench digging).

Team America also won a team award.

In the video player above, you can see some of the challenges participants had to compete in during the regional semi-finals round.

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