Farm Industry News Blog

Playing in the dirt

Sometimes a media event brings along a little extra fun.

To my farmer readers let me say that we work hard in our jobs here at Farm Industry News - really. We're striving to get you the latest new products and technologies and help you understand what's available for your farm. However, sometimes getting to that information means you get to do some other fun stuff too.

Last week we got the chance to see the new Arctic Cat 500 HDX utility vehicle, which is new for 2014. Utility vehicle introductions and ride and drives usually involve going somewhere that allows you to drive, but the folks at Arctic Cat put a little different spin on their event with the location they chose.

The business is called the Extreme Sandbox, and that's just what it is - a giant sandbox filled with life-size construction equipment where adults can play. So after a morning of riding the new Arctic Cat utility vehicles, which I profiled here last week, it was off to the sandbox.

We got a truncated demonstration in the facility with about a half-hour in each class of equipment - excavator, bulldozer and track skid-steer loader. And while I've had some "stick time" in a couple of these kinds of machines, this was a totally different way to experience these machines.

Recently my colleague Jodie Wehrspann took on a challenge John Deere offered media in its Coal Valley, Ill., training facility and she shared that.

Let me say that I got a good taste of that working the Caterpillar equipment at the extreme sandbox - note my 'game face' while running the excavator in the image on this page. It's a great idea, and safety was paramount - including training videos and other gear. The humor was there too when they note you'll be digging your own trench with the bulldozer then driving over the pile (the second image on this page) you make and only "one in three" are ever injured. Let's just say making the drive up the pile I made was fun.

Oh, and did I say that we started the morning by riding from the event hotel out to the ride and drive site in the fire truck that Extreme Sandbox owns? Yep it’s the real thing, noise, diesel smell, lights and all. The looks we got in Minneapolis traffic were worth it.

Yes we're hard at work at Farm Industry News, but we're also good at playing hard too, just like you are at your farms when you can. Utility vehicles do offer a fun way to get around the farm and products in the Arctic 500 and 700 HDX class make it even more enjoyable. Throwing in a life-size sandbox for fun didn't hurt either.

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What's Farm Industry News Blog?

The Farm Industry News Blog features commentary from Willie Vogt, Jodie Wehrspann, Kathy Huting, Lynn Grooms, Daryl Bridenbaugh and Jeff Ryan.

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