Connecting New Zealand

Competition finds Waikato and Bay of Plenty’s top excavator operators

26 Jun 2019

Strong final day performances helped Waikato’s Mike Bowe and Bay of Plenty’s Brandon Crowley scoop their respective regional titles at the Waikato and Bay of Plenty Regional Excavator Operator Competition.

The competition, which took place on 14-15 June, saw 26 competitors cross excavator blades in front of large crowds at the Mystery Creek Fieldays near Hamilton. It tested operators’ skills by putting them through a series of entertaining tasks, ranging from opening and pouring a beer using a special digger blade attachment, to painting an ‘S’ and a ‘G’ (the initials of sponsor Success Group) using a paint brush attached to the blades.

Waikato Branch Secretary Nicki Carson said this year’s events came down to the wire.

“Shannan Bell from Fulton Hogan has been our only female competitor and has always been right up there with the guys. This year she was leading the Waikato event at the end of Friday, however one of our top operators and past winner Mike Bowe, from Bowe Brothers, just managed to get there by 2 points to take out the win.”

Third place in the Waikato competition went to last year’s winner, Rob Veltmans, from Splice Construction.

It was a similar situation in the Bay of Plenty event, Ms Carson said.

“Craig Crowley from Crowley Excavators was leading at the end of Friday but his son Brandon Crowley, who won last year, had an amazing time on the course on Saturday and achieved the top score ever of 101.5/112. Craig held on to second place, with Baryn Mitchell from Fulton Hogan taking third.”

This year’s competition wasn’t without challenge for organisers. A storm went through the site a few days before the event, damaging some marquees, but local CCNZ branch members pitched in to have everything sorted in time for the competition days.

“It was a brilliant event in the end. Plenty of onlookers enjoyed the skills of our operators with the grandstand full most of the time, and with Doug the Digger there as well, it was a fun place to visit at the Fieldays.”

The major sponsors of this year’s Waikato and Bay of Plenty Regional Excavator Operator Competition were Cable Price, Hirepool, Humes and Winstone Aggregates. The competition also received support from local sponsors Splice Construction, CTLNZ, Connell Contractors, Higgins, Fulton Hogan, Brian Perry Civil, Schick Civil Construction, King Drilling and Success Group.

Mr Bowe’s win in the Waikato event and Mr Crowley’s top placing in the Bay of Plenty qualify them for a place at the National Regional Excavator Operator Competition, due to take place at the Central District Fieldays in March 2020.

Final results


1st Mike Bowe (Bowe Brothers)

2nd Shannan Bell (Fulton Hogan)

3rd Rob Veltmans (Splice Construction)

Company Trophy – Fulton Hogan (Shannan Bell & Travis Rameka)

Bay of Plenty

1st – Brandon Crowley (Crowley OC)

2nd – Craig Crowley (Crowley Excavators)

3rd – Baryn Mitchell (Fulton Hogan)




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