Grit Blogs > Arrows and Minnows

Bobcat Media Day: Greenhorn Gear-boy Gets a Clue

By Caleb Regan, Managing Editor


Tags: Bobcat, Tractors, Skidloaders,

A portrait of GRIT Assistant Editor Caleb Regan, with a puny catch.

I felt like a kid today, and that’s always such a great feeling. Coming to the Bobcat Atlanta Media Event in 2010, I didn’t know what to expect. I sort of expected to feel overwhelmed and ignorant – even more than usual. I thought, sure, I’d do fine on a 1962 Allis Chalmers, or Farmall H from 1941 (the tractors I grew up around on our southeast Kansas farm). Then, I got on the Bobcat CT450 tractor – with a semi-synchronized gear transmission (SST) – with a rear-attached soil conditioner, set the speed, and let the machine do the work. I was fascinated by that tractor. Heck, throwing out all those terms makes me feel like Hank Will.

Bobcat CT445 Compact Tractor

In the coming days I’ll post some video of Lance Mathern, general manager of Bobcat utility products, talking about that tractor, the SST system, and Bobcat’s ever-increasing product diversity. Bobcat rolled out the SST option for its CT335, CT445 and CT450 compact tractors in January.

But a 5-ton excavator with all the gadgets and levers?! I’d never been on one. The only time I’d really ever sniffed running a boom, I was running from it, as an incompetent concrete foreman was dropping basement wall forms on the jobsite.

Turns out, this was an experience much more about learning than about feeling any sort of ignorance or, especially in my case, outdatedness; and the good folks at the Atlanta Bobcat dealership are to thank.

Bobcat Skidloader

Picture a greenhorn gear-boy out there clueless on some red dirt, neck getting redder by the minute, but absolutely lost in hopping from machine to machine. That was me; just like a kid. I pulled the door off a skidloader because I thought the emergency exits were the regular handles. It was only reassuring when one of the Bobcat guys walked toward me laughing, saying he thinks a lot of people do that when they buy these machines. So, I laughed a little, got down on a knee, looked for the bolt I’d popped off, and did what any good journalist would do: snapped some pictures so maybe somebody doesn’t make the same mistake I did.

Bobcat Skidloader with emergency escape latches

Those yellow handles?! Those are emergency escape latches. Don’t pull those unless it’s an emergency.


Caleb Regan and his wife, Gwen, live in rural Douglas County, Kansas, where they enjoy hunting, fishing, and raising and growing as much of their own food as they can. Caleb can’t imagine a better scenario than getting to work on a rural lifestyle magazine as a profession, and then living that same lifestyle right in the heartland of America. Connect with him on .

k.c. compton
6/7/2010 12:18:32 PM

Manly, yes, but *I* like it, too. (a la' Irish Spring Soap, for those of you too young to remember and hear the lilt...) What a fun post. Though I'm jealous, you know. I've always had a secret yearn to drive those kinds of toys. However, the one time I tried to pilot a motorcycle, I darned near kilt myself, so I remain in the observer/passenger role. So glad you got to go to the show and play with some really cool, really big playthings. --KC


nebraska dave
6/3/2010 9:42:43 AM

Caleb, I am so envious of you guys at Grit who get to test out all the manly toys. There are so many new tractors compared to the 1949 John Deere B that I sat on most of my farm experience. The powerful engine put out a whopping 20 or 25 horsepower. Now days riding lawnmowers have more power then that. I kind of miss those days of the Johnny popper. It was a sad day when they changed the sound of the John Deere engine. My other tractor experience was a 1929 International Harvester with steel wheels. Oh yeah a massive 15 horse power give or take. I’ve plowed and cultivated many a field with the crawling shaking beast. There was no dust free air conditioned cab and it was considered luxury just to have an umbrella. No power steering just muscle power even to lift up the cultivator when turning. Ah, those were the days when life was simple and exercise ruled the day. Although I think I could get used to the giant eight tired, hinge in the middle, GPS controlled, air conditioned cab, media rich tractors of today. After all I am filled with Man DNA and Men like manly toys. Good post. By the way I have pulled many wrong levers with humorous results too.


hank will_2
6/3/2010 9:00:09 AM

Gee Whiz, Caleb -- I had no idea you were so strong :) Seriously, thanks for covering the event for us and for your absolutely priceless post. You have us all laughing -- still.


mountain woman
6/3/2010 8:10:29 AM

Loved this article and the photos. We're going to be purchasing a skid steer fairly soon and Bobcat it's going to be. What great machines they make and wow, all the attachments too.