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Thomas Perston delicately opened, and then poured a bottle of beer, using a five-and-a-half tonne digger.
The feat helped to qualify him as one of the region’s top three skilled operators at the annual regional excavator competition held in Napier last weekend.
Civil Contractors New Zealand held its Hawke’s Bay East Coast excavator operator competition on Marine Parade. The event pitted machine operators against the clock, while completing tasks like lifting a bucket of water, swinging a manhole cover with wine glasses on top, applying paint to canvas, stacking firewood, and manoeuvring machines through tight corners.
Thomas, and Arnold Smith, were this year’s Quality Roading and Services entrants. While Thomas qualified as one of the top three operators, he will have to wait until the organisation announces the champion. “It will be a close race,” he says, paying homage to the other two operators in the running.
Thomas has worked for QRS for 22 years and operated machinery on and off for eight years. He’s entered the regional competition five times and won it once. It’s a challenging day but he stays relaxed. “I just keep on telling myself to stay focussed. This week it went to plan but it doesn’t always go like that. It’s good to represent the company,” says the construction site supervisor. The most difficult task was painting with a brush. “We are not all Michelangelos.”
Thomas also won the first aid section, which tested operators’ knowledge and decision-making when dealing with an impaled person scenario.
Arnold Smith entered as a novice operator. While he learned to operate machines three years ago, these days he is a construction project supervisor, and is very rarely in a cab. He says his legs were shaking during the event. He was stoked when he deftly launched the cap off the lager. “That was one of the more challenging ones, but I got it in the end.”
Arnold recommends others from QRS give the CCNZ competition a go. “It’s a good experience meeting people and putting your skills to the test. And it’s a good day out.”
The QRS team will find out if Thomas has won the right to represent the region at the national excavator competition during CCNZ’s regional award dinner on Friday 3 November.
19 October 2023
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