Caterpillar Global Operator Challenge Is Now Bigger and Even More Competitive

The three-round contest seeking to identify the world’s best machine operator will incorporate a wider range of construction equipment and take place in nearly 40 countries.

Cat Operator Challenge
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Caterpillar Inc. first kicked off its Global Operator Challenge in 2019, hosting more than 10,000 entrants from 30 countries before selecting nine of the most talented equipment operators to compete in the finals at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020 in Las Vegas. At its conclusion, Jaus Neigum, owner of Industrial Backhoe Ltd. in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, succeeded in capturing the title of champion – just before the world shut down due to the global pandemic.

Now, Caterpillar is again inviting equipment operators from across the globe to compete in the 2022/2023 edition of the Global Operator Challenge. Competitions will be hosted at dozens of Cat dealer sites in nearly 40 countries before culminating with the finals, which will take place at CONEXPO-CON/AGG in Las Vegas in March 2023.

The Global Operator Challenge is held to test the skills and precision of equipment operators as they prove their excellence in operating Cat construction equipment and their ability to master the equipment safely and efficiently.

“I’ve been operating Cat machines for more than 15 years. Having the opportunity to demonstrate my skills and compete against peers from around the world was one of the most rewarding experiences in my career,” Neigum said of being crowned the 2019/2020 champion. “If you’re an operator of heavy equipment, this is a contest you don’t want to miss. And if you’re a business owner like me and my partners, I encourage you to put forward your best operators, because this competition is going to be even bigger and better than the last one.”

Upping the Size and Scope

To make the event even more challenging, Caterpillar has added the requirement that each competition must feature three different challenges on three separate machines. This means operators must master a broader assortment of equipment in order to qualify to move on to the next round.  

The event has also grown in scope, growing beyond the 67 competitions hosted at Cat dealer locations in 2019/2020 to become Caterpillar’s largest construction industry event of its kind.

“More than 80 Cat dealers will host local, one-of-a-kind competitions celebrating equipment operators and enabling them to showcase their exceptional skills in fun and dynamic ways,” said Tony Fassino, group president, Construction Industries, Caterpillar Inc., in a press release sent out to announce the global launch. “Whether their expertise lies in digging a trench, moving aggregates or managing demolition, our Global Operator Challenge will be demanding for even the most experienced operators.

“We can’t wait to see what they can do with our machines,” he added.

Calling All Operators

The first round of the Challenge will consist of local qualifiers, which will be held from March through September 2022. Those who qualify in the local dealer events will move on to the regional semi-final competitions in October 2022. Nine finalists will ultimately emerge from the regional semifinals to participate in the global finals competition in Caterpillar’s outdoor Festival Grounds exhibit during CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023. The overall winner will receive an all-expenses paid trip for two to one Caterpillar facility worldwide.  

During each portion of the Challenge, participants must execute a variety of tasks, such as digging a trench, loading a precise amount of dirt and hauling or maneuvering the equipment through a variety of obstacles. Scoring is based on the operator’s skills and efficiency, as well as their competence in using integrated technology on the Cat next-generation machines to enhance the machine’s performance. Such technologies will include Cat Payload, Grade and Command, Cat Grade Assist, rear view cameras, return to dig and return to carry.

To learn more about the Global Operator Challenge or to express interest in participating in the competition, visit

Information provided by Caterpillar and edited/enhanced by Becky Schultz.