Putting the Dozer in Dozer Park

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On Wednesday morning at Dozer Park, everyone was on the move, from the children participating in baseball camp on the field to the staff and crew scurrying about getting the stadium ready for the day’s game. However, that all came to a stop around 10:45 a.m. when the roar of an antique Cat dozer echoed through the stadium.

That’s when, just off the third base side of the field, Kent Bates of the Antique Caterpillar Machinery Owners Club (ACMOC) fired up a 1952 Cat D6 9U, which had just been dropped off at the stadium. The machine is one of two Cat track-type tractors that will grace Dozer Park this season, the other one being a new Cat D4 2K. The D6 9U is on loan from another ACMOC member, Jim Kidwell of Greenwood, Mo.

Dropping the machine off at the field was one thing; getting it to the proper location in the stadium was something else. After disembarking from a semi-trailer on the third base side of the field, the machine had to travel through the concourse on wood planks to its position along the right field line. And if that doesn’t seem difficult enough, it had to travel the entire distance backwards because there wasn’t enough room to turn the machine completely around. After all, it’s a baseball stadium and not a construction site.

Bates, along with two helpers, deftly moved the machine through the concourse without a hitch, passing within a few inches of the sculpture of Pete Vonachen in the entrance. The process took nearly three hours to complete.

The Antique Caterpillar Machinery Owners Club (ACMOC) was founded in 1991 by a small group of enthusiasts who all shared a similar passion in the legacy of antique Caterpillar machinery. At the time, they had no idea that their club would one day grow to have thousands of members all around the world. Now based in Peoria, ACMOC's mission is to assist and educate its members, and the general public, to appreciate the historic role of Caterpillar machinery in shaping the world. ACMOC promotes the collection, preservation, restoration, display, and study of products and memorabilia of Caterpillar and its related predecessors. For more information, visit the club's website.

The stadium will be officially rechristened as Dozer Park at Friday night’s game vs. the Clinton LumberKings. There will be all kinds of special events and promotions going on at the stadium that night celebrating the name change (including 25 cent hot dogs) and Peoria’s finalist status in the All-America City competition. On that night, the Peoria Chiefs will donate $5 for every club box seat to Peoria’s All-America City team’s expenses.


About the Author
A Juilliard-trained writer, Kevin Kizer has fought against numerous world-champion writers during his career, besting the reigning middle weight writing champion in an exhibition bout in Helsinki in 1976. He also played a crucial role on the U.S. gold-medal winning writing team during the 1984 Pan-Am games, where he came off the bench in dramatic fashion to write the winning prepositional phrase just as time expired.