In the first installment of my “Different things to do in Vegas” series, I was treated to an experience using an excavator at Dig This.
The concept for Dig This struck owner Ed Mumm, former owner of a Colorado fencing company, while he was digging a well at his home, using a rented excavator. “I really began having fun” one of the posters in the shop states. “I thought other people might enjoy it, too.”
After a trial run in Colorado, Mumm brought the business to Las Vegas and it quickly became a hit! Trip advisor has honored Dig This for the last three years for its high ratings among visitors and excellent safety record giving them a “Top Attraction” rating for Las Vegas. (# 2 for our of over 400 attractions as of the date of publishing)
The experience starts off about 20 minutes before the allotted time slot. There is a waiver to sign, and a breathalyzer. They take safety seriously so no one under the influence will be allowed to operate the large equipment.
After this, an instructor gives you a quick safety talk and orientation to the machines your group will be using. Owner Ed Mumm even makes a quick appearance via a short video presentation, welcoming you to Dig This.
Then you make your way as a group to the yard. Everyone saddles up in the machines, and is set up with a wireless head set. You are in constant contact with an instructor at all times. You are walked through the function of each of the controls.
I used an excavator, a CAT 351. (with out a “thumb” on the bucket) Our first exercise, after being made familiar with the controls, was to dig. We (there were three excavator users in the group I was with) drove up to a hole that had been dug by previous customers, a pit in the ground about 8 – 10 feet wide, 15 feet long and 10 feet deep. When I left, after mastering the use of both control sticks, the whole was a few feet wider on all dimensions, and the pile of dirt next to it, a fair bit taller.
Picture courtesy of Dig This – www.digthisvegas.com
Next we maneuvered ourselves up to a stack of large tires (tractor tires each weighing around 2000 lbs). We then used our machines to pick the tires up and reform the stack on the other end of the track. My machine, the only one with out a thumb on the bucket, required a little bit different process, as I didn’t have the extra mechanical advantage of grasping the tire, but instead had a “hook” the tires with the bucket instead.
Animation of Tire moving – David Rettke
After rebuilding the tire pyramid, albeit a bit more ‘leanier’ than the original, we moved on to basket ball. Yes, excavator basketball. While resting on a steep inclined pile of dirt, I was instructed to use the bucket’s teeth to pick a basket ball off the tip of a traffic cone, and then drop it into a waiting tire.
I was the last to finish my tire pyramid, but I managed to sink all but one of my baskets, easily winning that small competition. After we drove the excavators back to their original starting point, and set them in the original starting position (bucket on the ground), we made our way back to the office for a quick debriefing and awarding of our certificates of completion, certifying that we had, in addition to Digging it, totally Dug it at Dig This!
There is a small gift shop with some fun hats and t-shirts, and a few other fun items, plus you can purchase a commemorative plaque with your own picture in it.
The staff was all very friendly and knowledgeable, and made for a really great experience that anyone would enjoy. They make the operation very clear and easy to understand, and keep the whole thing safe through some very innovative safety features, such as a remote ‘kill switch’ for each machine and constant communications.
I would definitely recommend this experience for anyone visiting Vegas. Check out the Dig This website here for more information, prices and booking. They also do parties/groups. (Ask about the bachelor party with the mannequin).
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A dozer against the background of the Las Vegas Strip – picture courtesy of Dig This – www.digthisvegas.com