DSCN0454By Jake Heshelman — Bobcat equipment enthusiast 

I was four years old when my Dad took me to the International Construction and Utility Equipment Exposition in Louisville. Although we had a Bobcat® compact track loader that he used on our property back home in Indiana, this was my first chance to see what I believed to be the entire world of construction equipment. What a wonderful experience.

Of course, visiting the Bobcat equipment display was the highlight of the show for me. So many machines all bright and new.

I saw more equipment every time my Dad went to buy parts or get service at the Bobcat dealership in Lafayette, Indiana. For me it was like going into a candy store. The equipment was so fascinating. I picked up every piece of literature I could get my hands on, took it home and read it over and over. And I talked to everyone at the dealership. I decided working there would be the perfect job.”

Along the way I started to collect toy models, mostly Bobcat machines. The first model I remember receiving from my parents was a T200. I played with that model and some other earlier ones so much that they were almost destroyed.

At about age 10 I started to take collecting more seriously, beginning with a die-cast Bobcat T200 compact track loader. Now I have about 300 models (tractors, trucks), including around 65 Bobcat machines. I also began to save Bobcat advertising, rugs, banners and caps.

My next step was to start customizing my collection. I built a forestry cutter attachment for my T770 model. I thought it was a neat piece of equipment, but I couldn’t find a real model of the forestry cutter so I decided to make my own. It was very difficult. Some pieces, such as hydraulic hoses, are very small. I have big hands so it was hard for me to install the hoses on the cutting head. At least by doing such a difficult customizing job first, I was ready to take on even more challenging projects.

These days I am adding to my “Bobcat” inventory by making scratch-built models out of card stock and plastic. I see remote controls in my future, too.

My Dad took me to a toy show last year and I came home with several good ideas for furthering my hobby. I’m working on a farm display featuring Bobcat equipment. That’s going to take some time to complete.

After high school and college I hope that I can work at a Bobcat dealership. That would be the perfect job.

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