BTB 46: Oral History
Published on: Friday 4th August 2017
The Infamous Skidder Pull-off
We were at a forestry festival in Winnfield, Louisiana. The Caterpillar people came around our 630, all wearing their ice cream shirts and boasting that their 545 would pull our 630 backwards. So we said let’s do it. I got in the 630 and drove to where they were having a skidder contest. We hooked on to the same log and the Cat salesman dropped a flag. I had the diff locks on, grapple low and in, and blade low. Faith Hill was singing on the radio, “The Way You Love Me.” I eased into the hydrostat pedal but I didn’t move nor did I feel anything. When I looked out the back window, I saw that the 545 was standing straight up like a rocket ship! He started turning the machine left to right like he was stuck in a mud hole but his front end was in the air. I thought that he was going to roll over backwards so I let up on the forward pedal. When I did his front end hit the ground and his foot must have slipped off the throttle pedal. Then I got back onto the hydrostat pedal and began to pull him backward. My intention was to pull him around the fairgrounds but after about 50 feet he opened his grapple to let loose of that badass 630 and further embarrassment. There was supposed to be $1,000 cash for the winner but all the Caterpillar salesmen went into hiding and I didn’t get a dime! There was at least 200 loggers that were watching.
– David Long, sales specialist, B & G Equipment and long-time Tigercat advocate
Untested Prototype Cuts Trees at DEMO 2000
Always confident, Tigercat brought an untested prototype L830 feller buncher to Kelowna in 2000 and proceeded to run it on a very steep slope in front of thousands of people all day long on the first day of the show. Everything was going great and the crowds here wowed until late afternoon when the coupler between the engine and pumps failed, leaving the machine stranded pretty much in the same spot that this picture was taken – about 200 metres from the roadside. A group of dedicated Tigercat staff drove back up the mountain that evening and stayed up very late changing out the part while everyone else was staying up very late partying in Kelowna. It was a big job to take the pumps off on that slope in the dark. They ended up sourcing a replacement coupler – from a competitor!
25 years ago, a very small company with a single prototype and no distribution showed up at a logging show in Georgia. What led up to it and what happened next? Some of the earliest Tigercat team members look back for the answers.