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Penn College Students’ Commanding Performance Wins ‘Rodeo’


In a superior display of agility, maneuvering formidable machinery through tasks that require more finesse than force, a team of Pennsylvania College of Technology students won the Precision Heavy Construction Equipment Rodeo held March 23 during the college’s Spring Open House.

Students from the School of Natural Resources Management swept three of seven categories – and placed in all but one of the others – on their way to overall victory in the popular competition. Set up by the Service and Operation of Heavy Equipment student organization, the “rodeo” was held on a rear parking lot at the Schneebeli Earth Science Center near Allenwood.

Competitors and judges move among heavy construction equipment assembled for a “rodeo” while parents and other spectators watch from bleachers outside the Schneebeli Earth Science Center during Penn College’s March 23 Open House.
Competitors and judges move among heavy construction equipment assembled for a “rodeo” while parents and other spectators watch from bleachers outside the Schneebeli Earth Science Center during Penn College’s March 23 Open House.

The other teams were all from New York state. Second place was won by Greater Southern Tier Board of Cooperative Educational Services/Wildwood Campus, while GST BOCES/Coopers campus took home third. Also competing were students from Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES.

Penn College’s Anthony L. Patane, of Rochester, N.Y., majoring in heavy construction equipment technology: operator emphasis, was the day’s biggest winner. He placed first in the Best Operator, Excavator Bowling and Skid Steer/Pipe Pick categories and third in the Rubber-Tired Backhoe Softball competition.

Other multiple winners for the host team were Brent A. Godissart, a heavy construction equipment technology: technician emphasis student from Morrisdale, who finished second in Best Operator and Rubber-Tired Backhoe Egg Drop and third in Excavator Bowling, and Zachary Waggle, of Somerset, a heavy construction equipment technology: operator emphasis major who won the Wheel Loader and Hula Hoop contest and placed third in Best Operator and Rubber-Tired Backhoe Egg Drop.

Among Penn College competitors in the Skid Steer/Pipe Pick is Jacob R. Koch, of East Aurora, N.Y., using a hook to place a smaller pipe into a larger one.
Among Penn College competitors in the Skid Steer/Pipe Pick is Jacob R. Koch, of East Aurora, N.Y., using a hook to place a smaller pipe into a larger one.

Other Penn College winners, along with their hometowns, majors and categories, are:

First place – Joshua L. Carmen, Bridgeville, heavy construction equipment technology: operator emphasis, Rubber-Tired Backhoe Softball.

Second place – Jacob R. Koch, of East Aurora, N.Y., heavy construction equipment technology: operator emphasis, Excavator Bowling; Christopher K. Leonard, of Frenchville, heavy construction equipment technology: Caterpillar equipment emphasis, Rubber-Tired Backhoe Softball; and Colton J. Saulter, of Shinglehouse, heavy construction equipment technology: operator emphasis, Skid Steer/Pipe Pick.

Third place – Luke C. Laughlin, of Butler, heavy construction equipment technology: technician emphasis, Wheel Loader and Hula Hoop.

“The rodeo is always a great way for us to get prospective students on our campus, as well as showcase the skill and execution needed to be a successful heavy equipment operator,” said Ryan W. Peck, an instructor of diesel equipment technology at Penn College. “We had a lot of excellent competition, and the overwhelming support we receive from industry for this event is very much appreciated.”

A "rodeo" participant delicately lifts an egg from the sand with a tablespoon taped to a backhoe's bucket tooth.
A “rodeo” participant delicately lifts an egg from the sand with a tablespoon taped to a backhoe’s bucket tooth.

Equipment was donated by Five Star Equipment, Cleveland Brothers Equipment Co. and Best Line Equipment. Events were judged by industry representatives (several of whom serve on advisory committees for the school’s equipment-related majors): Bryan Frey, Mark Keller, Wyland Lyons, Tom Woodhead and Steve Myers from Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc.; Max Persun (joined by his son, Ryan), from the Wayne Township Landfill; and Tim Fink, from Five Star.

“We also appreciated the instructors that coordinated the travel plans to bring these students here to experience Penn College,” Peck noted. Parents of a number of the college’s current students also attended the event.

For more information about the School of Natural Resources Management, call 570-320-8038. For more about Penn College, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

Photos by Carol A. Lugg, coordinator of matriculation and retention, School of Natural Resources Management, and Seth J. Welshans, laboratory assistant for diesel equipment technology

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