Attendees are able to see many pieces of equipment at work over the span of three days

When a contractor is thinking about purchasing the next vacuum excavator, directional drill or excavator, usually they’ll call one or two manufacturers to set up a day for a live demonstration at their facility.

At the International Construction & Utility Equipment Exposition, however, they don’t have to take time out of their busy schedule to set up just one demo. Instead they can spend one day at the show and take in a full day's worth of demos from any manufacturer. “It’s a great chance to compare different manufacturers at one time,” says Cliff Meyer of Louisiana. “I am here just for two days, but I get to see the different vacuum excavators at work and see which one I like better.”

Meyer was viewing the VACMASTERS 6000 unit as VACMASTERS staff performed a demonstration. Meyer had also planned to view the demonstrations for RSP-America and OX Equipment — two other air-excavation contractors at the show. “You get to see what you like and don’t like about each one and you get to talk to a sales person or engineer directly,” Meyer says. “It’s pretty much the only show where you can do that. That’s what makes it so nice.”

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It’s not just watching the demos that has drawn attendees to booths. They also get to try the equipment themselves in some cases.

“I’m not really here looking for anything in particular,” says Vince Ingle of Kentucky. “It’s just fun trying different pieces of equipment and seeing how they work and, who knows, maybe I’ll like one enough to buy one.”

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Ingle had taken a turn trying a trencher in the Ditch Witch booth, a compact loader in the John Deere booth and a bucket truck in the Altec booth. “There is something different here for everyone,” Ingle says. “Even inside you can try smaller hand tools and things like that. It's a nice way to find out what you love and what you hate in different equipment.”


Trevor Raedell had been at the show just for the morning hours on Wednesday, but already had a few notebook pages of notes as he moved around from John Deere to Caterpillar to CASE Construction. “I’m looking for a new excavator,” Raedell says. “There are three of us here from the company and we’re taking turns on the machines and then we’re going to compare notes. Every machine is a little different.”

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Raedell says one machine might have smoother movements with the boom and bucket, while the other might have better operator controls. It isn’t an easy task selecting which excavator to go with.

“It’s going to take some time for us to decide on just one machine,” Raedell says. “We all have our favorites, so that is where the notes come in handy. We can go back to the boss and tell him all about each excavator and let him decide.”

The three had planned to try every excavator at the show in hopes of finding one that they all agreed on. By mid-day and three manufacturers down, there wasn’t a clear favorite yet. “It’s going to be a long day,” Raedell adds.

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