Robbie Pinner’s eyes were focused on a plastic yellow ball that he was trying pluck from a tub of water filled with other plastic balls.
Operating a large backhoe, he was trying move the ball to a bucket as part of one of the competitions May 23 at the annual Public Works Equipment Road-eo at the parking lot of The Parks at Texas Star in Euless.
Attached to the backhoe’s bucket was a thin metal rod that was fashioned into a fork-like shape for the competition. As he maneuvered the ball over the scoring container Pinner — an eight-year veteran of the city of Colleyville’s Public Works department — began to shake the ball loose.
It fell on the concrete and rolled away, with Pinner’s disappointment flashing on his face.
Whether it’s moving plastic balls with a backhoe or avoiding water and gas mains, Pinner said his mantra is the same.
“Don’t break anything,” he said. “You don’t want to be that guy.”
Pinner joined public works staffers from several surrounding cities including Grapevine, Southlake, Keller, Roanoke. This year, the City of Euless hosted the event that tests the equipment skills on backhoes, excavators and mini-excavators.
“We love it,” Pinner said. “It’s our day to have fun.”
Keller’s Stanley Moore said when he started in public works 12 years ago, participating in the Road-eo and using the equipment inspired him to be an equipment operator. Moore competed in all of the events with an unwavering focus.
“To be the best, you just do it” he said, leaning over to share his secret. “You can’t think.”
Each city is tasked with bringing contests to tests the operators ability to perform tasks with the equipment. Winners receive a cash prize by organizers.
Grapevine’s Patrick Carrell takes pride in the games his city brings to the events. This year, it was the backhoe event with the plastic balls.
“Grapevine always comes up with the most challenging,” he said.
Ruben Cardenas, event organizer and city of Euless water production lead man, said he was happy with this year’s turnout.
“It’s already a success celebrating Public Works Week,” he said. “Having the guys compete in the events is a success in its own.”